- Fixture List seeks to strike a balance between supporting racing’s workforce whilst being alive to the needs of digital and retail betting sectors
- Measures introduced following unanimous agreement of Fixture List policies from racing’s tripartite structure earlier this year
- List of 1,511 fixtures, three greater than 2018, delivered in sufficient time for the racing industry to plan with certainty for 2019
British Racing has today published the 2019 Fixture List, following unanimous agreement from its tripartite structure of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association (RCA) and Horsemen’s Group, and approval by the BHA Board.
The focus in compiling the 2019 Fixture List has been to bring in measures to assist those who work in the sport whilst simultaneously aligning the fixture schedule to the changing needs of the betting industry.
The policies governing the compilation of the 2019 Fixture List were set out earlier this year, and led to a number of new initiatives including breaks for Flat participants in March and November and all floodlit fixtures between January to mid-April and September to December having a final race time of no later than 8:30pm to help jockeys and racing staff.
These measures aim to support jockeys and racing staff and are designed to help alleviate some of the demands that the Fixture List might place on their physical and mental wellbeing through extensive travel and late working hours.
Additionally, to benefit both retail and digital betting operators, measures have been agreed to schedule floodlit cards to try and provide a more continuous and consistent betting product throughout the course of afternoon and evening racing, as well as the scheduling of a trial of 15 additional floodlit fixtures in the autumn to test the popularity of staging two such fixtures on the same evening with the betting public.
These initiatives are partly in response to the fact that over half of all betting on British racing is now placed remotely and that the Fixture List must to an extent be tailored to meet the needs of that audience if the sport is to grow.
Top line figures for the 2019 Fixture List are as follows:
- A total of 1,511 fixtures have been scheduled, 3 more than were originally scheduled in 2018
- Ratio of fixtures in 2019 – Jump: 39.4%, Flat Turf 37.3%, All Weather 23.2% (2018: Jump: 39.7%, Flat Turf 37.7%, All Weather 22.6%)
- 915 Flat fixtures scheduled (14 more than in 2017). Of these fixtures, 564 are Flat Turf fixtures (five fewer than 2018) while 351 are All Weather fixtures (10 more than originally scheduled in 2018)
- 596 Jump fixtures scheduled (two fewer than 2018)
- By betting session, there will be 1,081 afternoon fixtures (15 fewer than 2018) and 430 evening fixtures (18 more than 2018).
The 2019 Fixture List includes 20 floodlit fixtures at Southwell racecourse with the first floodlit fixture to take place on Tuesday 29th January.
The BHA Board has previously approved Chelmsford City’s application to install a turf course for turf racing. At this stage, no turf fixtures or races at Chelmsford City have been approved to take place in 2019. This will be revisited once further progress has been made on the construction of the turf track, with a decision on the timing of the first turf races not required until the details of the races at each fixture are published in the Programme Book.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA said:
“Producing a Fixture List which strikes the right balance between sufficient support for all those who work so hard in racing, opportunities and rewards for owners and a compelling betting product to grow vital revenues for the sport has been a cross-industry effort.
“We hope that the 2019 Fixture List gives racing’s participants and customer groups confidence that the sport is working together in their best interests, and its early publication will allow the industry, racecourses and bookmakers adequate time to plan for next year.”
Andy Clifton, Racing Director at the RCA, said:
“The production of the 2019 Fixture List has been a great example of the strength of the tripartite structure of British Racing.
“The end result is a fixture list which balances the very different requirements of sections of the racing and betting industries as well as it can, and we look forward to continuing that process in the years to come, to the benefit of the sport as a whole.”
Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners’ Association and nominated representative of the Horsemen’s Group, said:
“The culmination of the 2019 Fixture List process produced a balanced fixture list with due rewards and opportunities for all those who invest in British racing. The Tripartite structure was seen at its best, delivering a Fixture List with the interest of the whole industry at its core.
“Balancing the interests of all of racing’s stakeholders through the process is not always straightforward and so it is with great confidence that we look forward to 2019 and continuing to work together for the benefit of the whole sport.”
Notes to editors:
- The announcement on the policies governing the compilation of the 2019 Fixture List can be viewed here, and include:
- All floodlit fixtures (which run from January to mid-April, and from September to December) are to finish earlier, with the final race starting no later than 20:30.
- A six-day break will be introduced for Flat racing participants at the end of the Turf season in November. In addition there will be an intended five-day break in March towards the end of the All-Weather season (although additional late notice fixtures may be programmed during this period in exceptional circumstances if all Jump fixtures on a day look likely to be abandoned).
- No fixtures will be programmed on Sunday 22 December 2019, providing an extra racing-free day before Christmas.
- The existing eight-day summer break and five-day end-of-season breaks for Jump fixtures will also be maintained.
- Following constructive discussions with stakeholder groups and betting companies – including both retail and digital operators – further policies that will be applied to the 2019 Fixture List are:
- To schedule floodlit cards with the aim of providing greater continuity of product from the start of afternoon racing through until the final race of the day on a consistent basis, with the final race always staged between 20:00 and 20:30.
- The addition of 15 floodlit fixtures in autumn, to be run alongside existing floodlit cards on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as part of a one-year trial to test their popularity with the betting industry’s customers. These fixtures will be programmed in September and October when there is currently a relatively high level of race eliminations and so any impact on field sizes is expected to be negligible.
- Top line figures for the 2019 Fixture List, which can be viewed here, are as follows: