Statement regarding British Racing’s 2016 Fixture List

12 Aug 2015 Racing/Fixtures

British Horseracing’s 2016 Fixture List will be published tomorrow. Ahead of its publication, Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, has made the following statement:

“2016 will be a year of consolidation for the Fixture List, rather than fundamental change. A number of issues need to be resolved and clarified before step changes are made.

“Over the next year will see the conclusion of the Jump Racing Review, progress towards the switch to a ‘Racing Right’ funding mechanism, and development of the Strategy for Growth under which the industry is coming together to facilitate change. In this context it makes little sense, and there is little scope, to attempt to make wholesale changes to the racing calendar at this time, and what we will publish tomorrow reflects that.

“We have consulted with all the relevant stakeholders to optimise last year’s Fixture List where possible. Some of the geographical clashes which have been a feature in recent years have been addressed, and we are grateful to the racecourses, in particular to Arena Racecourse Company and Jockey Club Racecourses, for their help in solving these issues.

“We are pleased to be able to publish the Fixture List earlier than in recent years to allow our customers to plan accordingly. Racecourses can determine budgets and market their 2016 calendar, the Programme Book can be published earlier for the benefit of horsemen, and the racing public can organise their days out.

“Running fixtures is the most obvious avenue of stimulating commercial activity and therefore revenues for the sport. The eleven extra fixtures compared to 2015 include an increased number of successful applications for self-funded fixtures, and the nuances of the calendar year meaning a greater number of criteria slots to be filled.

“However, at the same time we have at front of mind the challenges we face over the horse population’s ability to meet the demands of the race programme together with the immediate implications of potential reductions to the sport’s funding.”

Headline elements of the 2016 Fixture List, which will be published in detail tomorrow, are as follows (with 2015 figures in brackets):

  • There will be 1,482 (1471) fixtures
  • The proportion of All Weather fixtures has remained broadly consistent. 40% (40%) of fixtures are Jump; 38.7% (39.1%) are Flat Turf and 21.3% (20.9%) All Weather.
  • There are 1,219 racecourse fixtures, 198 BHA Fixtures, 13-self-funded fixtures, and 52 Enterprise/Other Fixtures.

Notes to Editors

1. The BHA’s responsibility as horseracing’s governing and regulatory body is to compile the Fixture List on behalf of the sport, acting in a transparent, fair and consultative manner, and in the best interests of the sport.

2. The 198 BHA Fixtures – the element of the Fixture List over which the BHA has the ability to independently flex the number and position of fixtures to meet the overall needs of British Racing – only account for around 13% of the Fixture List.

3. BHA Fixtures are distributed by the Fixture Allocation Process that was first implemented in 2015 after extensive industry-wide consultation. It rewards ‘sporting performance’ by allocating fixtures based not only on prize money contribution (60% weighting) but also factors such as field sizes, race success rates and betting turnover (40%).

4. Examples of where geographical clashes have been addressed include clashes between fixtures at Wetherby and Newcastle in early April, Musselburgh/Hexham in early November and Musselburgh/Doncaster in late November. There has also been a more general process of attempting to resolve clashes that made little sense from the perspective both of participants and of the racing public.

5. In 2015 initiatives were implemented to remove around 130 races from ‘pinch-point’ periods, which has had a beneficial effect on field sizes. We will continue to analyse field size projections and funding-related issues and will be reviewing the requirement for implementing similar initiatives in 2016 to manage the race programme in light of these extra fixtures.

6. Figures were recently published for the first half of 2015 which show an increase in the population of horses in training compared to 2014. Details can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/mid-year-review-shows-early-signs-of-improvement/