Sunday Racing in 2000 provided a series of gains for Racing across a range of areas, with fixtures generating increased attendances (+2.5%), prize money (+10.1%), runners (+13.8%), racecourse profitability (+8.8%) and off-course betting turnover (+5.5%) compared to their 1999 slots.
To build on this success, the British Horseracing Board¡¦s Sunday Racing Review Group, whose report is published on Tuesday 10th April, has recommended a limited extension of Sunday Racing in 2002 and, by 2006, a further expansion of Sunday fixtures to run continuously from March to the end of November.
The Group, chaired by BHB Managing Director Chris Reynolds, included representatives from all the key parties involved in Sunday Racing and began its work following the conclusion of the 63-fixture Sunday programme in November 2000.
Chris Reynolds said today: ¡§Sunday Racing is a success story. It is bringing major benefits to the sport and is attracting a new racegoing and betting audience and the Group was united in wishing to build on what we have achieved so far. It is recommended that, by 2006, there should be a period of continuous Sunday racing from March to the end of November.
¡§However, the Group recognised the impact of a prolonged spell of continuous racing on trainers and stable staff in 2000. As a short-term measure for 2002, it has recommended the programming of three National-Hunt only Sundays and, during the 104-day period of continuous racing, the introduction of three blank Sundays.¡¨
For 2002, the principal recommendations of the Group are:
ƒrincrease the number of Sundays from 20 to 23
ƒrincrease the number of fixtures from 61 in 2001 to a maximum of 67
ƒrintroduce three blank Sundays in the 104-day period of continuous racing
ƒrintroduce three National Hunt only Sundays comprising two or three fixtures
ƒrincrease the number of Saturday evening slots from six to seven
The BHB Board considered the Group¡¦s report at its meeting on 19th March 2001 and, in principle, endorsed its recommendations. However, the precise pattern and allocation of fixtures for 2002 will be agreed only during BHB¡¦s normal fixture allocation process, which will culminate in publication of the 2002 Fixture List in August 2001.
The report¡¦s executive summary and the Group¡¦s composition are attached.
For further information, contact Chris Reynolds on 020 7343 3311 or Alan Delmonte, BHB Communications Manager, on 020 7343 3318. A full copy of the report by email can be obtained from BHB Information Officer Richard Hayler on 020 7343 3335. As from 10th April, the report will be available on BHB¡¦s website, www.bhb.co.uk.