- Fixture List balances wellbeing of the sport’s participants and the delivery of more competitive racing with commercial considerations
- New positive measures agreed by the cross-industry Fixtures and Funding Group including extending of Jump racing breaks and earlier finish times
- 1,481 fixtures initially programmed, 30 less than 2019 including 10 fixtures historically staged at Towcester that will be added to the Fixture List in due course
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today published the 2020 Fixture List.
The policies governing the compilation of the 2020 Fixture List were announced last month following significant debate amongst racing’s tripartite parties as to the appropriate overall volume of fixtures to be included.
Agreement was reached by the cross-industry Fixtures and Funding Group to introduce a number of new measures which include no race starting later than 9pm at summer evening fixtures and 8.30pm outside the summer, extending the Christmas and summer Jump racing breaks to four and 12 days respectively, and ensuring that the first race of the day is underway by 2pm when possible to meet the needs of the betting public.
The measures aim to take into consideration the wellbeing of industry’s participants, the competitiveness of the racing product and the commercial need for the Fixture List to work for the sport’s customers.
After careful consideration, the BHA Board’s independent members agreed to remove 20 BHA-allocated fixtures from the Fixture List. In addition, discussions over the future of Towcester racecourse are continuing with its new owners and 10 fixtures historically staged at the Northamptonshire venue have been withheld from the 2020 Fixture List at this time. It is anticipated that these 10 fixtures will be added to the Fixture List in due course, either at Towcester or alternative racecourses.
As a result, 1,481 fixtures will be initially programmed in 2020 compared to 1,511 fixtures in 2019.
Top line statistics for the 2020 Fixture List are as follows:
- A total of 1,481 fixtures have been scheduled, 30 less than were originally scheduled in 2019
- Ratio of fixtures in 2020 – Jump: 39.1%, Flat Turf 37.8%, All Weather 23.1% (2019: Jump: 39.4%, Flat Turf 37.3%, All Weather 23.2%)
- 902 Flat fixtures scheduled (13 fewer than in 2019). Of these fixtures, 560 are Flat Turf fixtures (four fewer than 2019) while 342 are All Weather fixtures (nine fewer than originally scheduled in 2019)
- 579 Jump fixtures scheduled (17 fewer than 2019)
- By betting session, there will be 1,070 afternoon fixtures (11 fewer than 2019) and 411 evening (or floodlit) fixtures (19 fewer than 2019).
(Please note, the above statistics exclude Towcester).
Portas Consulting has been appointed by the sport’s Executive Committee to assist in developing an independent analysis of the financial and economic state of British Racing, identifying the key levers, such as the Fixture List, and their impacts now and in the future. This work commences in August and will be concluded in time for the findings to influence the size and shape of the 2021 Fixture List.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer at the BHA, said:
“The 2020 Fixture List and the policies governing it aim to balance the impact of the size of the Fixture List on the thousands of people that work tirelessly to service it; the need to support the industry’s revenues and prize money levels; and the importance of promoting the longer-term interests of the sport by delivering more competitive and compelling racing.
“Production of the Fixture List is rarely straightforward with sometimes conflicting objectives amongst the different parties within racing. In the current climate it is more important than ever that all the parties involved continue to work together to create a Fixture List that delivers the best overall outcome for the sport.
“There is much to be positive about in this year’s Fixture List, with measures such as the extended Jump racing breaks, earlier finish times and more racing across the middle of the day brought in following feedback from both racing’s participants and its customers.
“Looking to the future, it is very encouraging that all involved in the process are supportive of the external analysis of the financial and economic state of the sport that is about to commence. This is an important piece of work as it will provide a basis of agreed facts from which to develop fixture strategy for the future.”
Notes to editors:
1. The announcement on the policies governing the compilation of the 2020 Fixture List can be viewed here, and include:
- No races to start later than 9pm at evening fixtures in the summer. (The finish time for floodlit fixtures was moved to 8:30pm for 2019).
- The Christmas break will be extended by one day. 22 December becomes a non-racing day.
- The Jump racing break in August will extend from nine days to 12.
- Afternoon racing to be underway by 2pm at the latest to meet the needs of the betting public.
- Floodlit cards limited to seven programmed races so that races may divide to better adapt to demand within the horse population. Racecourses staging BHA Fixtures to always opt in to dividing races at these meetings.
- Work is also continuing to create an appropriate initiative based around International Women’s Day 2020 on Sunday 8 March.
- Top line figures for the 2020 Fixture List, which can be viewed here, are as follows:
3. Under the Members’ Agreement signed by the BHA, the Racecourse Association and parties within the Horsemen’s Group, ‘headline fixture policy points’ and ‘the indicative size of the Fixture List’ are classified as tripartite decision-making areas requiring a simple majority, although final decisions on these matters are taken by the BHA Board.
4. The industry’s Executive Committee was created under the Members’ Agreement and comprises Nick Rust (BHA), David Armstrong (RCA) and Charlie Liverton (on behalf of the members of the Horsemen’s Group).
5. The 20 BHA Fixtures removed from the 2020 Fixture List include Jump meetings in January and Flat meetings in August, where field sizes have historically dipped. The trial of dual floodlit fixtures in the autumn has also been scaled back from 15 fixtures in 2019 to five in 2020. The full breakdown of fixtures removed is as follows:
1 x BHA Auction fixture (Newton Abbot 11/8/20)
3 x January BHA Fixtures
1 x February BHA Fixture
1 x March BHA Fixture
6 x August BHA Fixtures
1 x September BHA Fixture
10 x BHA Floodlits in autumn
The removal of these 23 BHA Fixtures takes the net year on year reduction to 20; 2020 is a leap year which sees a natural increase of three fixtures.