370 fixtures announced for Irish racing in 2020.
Curragh Derby Festival reverts to traditional Friday-to-Sunday schedule.
Six blank Sundays retained to ease workload on stable staff and help trainers.
Seven additional fixtures have been allocated for the Irish racing calendar in 2020, a move that will see the total number of fixtures increased to 370.
The Fixture List for 2020 was approved by the Board of Horse Racing Ireland at their meeting yesterday.
The seven additional fixtures have been allocated to Cork (July 24th), The Curragh (September 26th), Kilbeggan (July 10th), Listowel (May 30th), Naas (August 23rd), Sligo (October 23rd) and Tramore (July 8th).
To help ease pressure on stable staff and trainers, there will also be six blank Sundays in 2020, matching the total for this year.
Next year’s Fixture List also sees changes to the Curragh’s Derby festival, reverting to the traditional Friday-to-Sunday schedule – and the Irish Grand National meeting, which changes for the first time to a Saturday-to-Monday schedule.
Listowel’s seven day Harvest Festival 2020 will begin later in the month of September (Sunday 20th) to avoid a clash with the National Ploughing Championships.
Announcing the 2020 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI, said:
“There will be 370 racemeetings in the Fixture List next year, which reflects the most recent industry figures which showed the number of horses in training continuing to rise, and strong average field sizes.
“Our priority continues to be facilitating opportunities for the horse population in Ireland which is essential to growing the industry here. With increasing numbers of horses in training, which in turn provides jobs all over the country, it is appropriate to provide increased opportunities.
“We had very strong applications from racecourses seeking extra fixtures and I congratulate those tracks which have been successful. The Curragh, Naas and Cork have undergone much development work in recent times while Kilbeggan, Sligo, Tramore and Listowel are immensely popular tracks in different parts of the country.”
Dundalk’s early season schedule will cease on April 22nd to facilitate their timetable for the replacement of the current surface with a view to the work being completed in early June, a month ahead of their first summer fixture on Sunday, July 12th, with their traditional August 15th date also reinstated next year.
Brian Kavanagh said:
“The HRI Board has agreed that there should be at least a month between the completion of the track replacement works and the first summer fixture in Dundalk to ensure that the surface is properly bedded down with appropriate trials taking place prior to racing recommencing on the new polytrack surface.”
The Curragh fixture list for 2020 sees a number of changes to its 2019 schedule. These include reverting to its traditional earlier start date for the year, Sunday, March 29th. There will also be a reduction in the number of the Curragh’s Friday fixtures (down from seven to three), with one Wednesday and one Saturday evening being trialled. Additionally, the Derby Festival will revert to its traditional Friday evening/Saturday/Sunday schedule, with the Irish Derby on the Saturday.
Brian Kavanagh said:
“We have moved two of the Curragh’s Friday evening fixtures to a Wednesday and a Saturday on a trial basis. The Curragh wishes to evaluate what day will work best for evening meetings and these tweaks should allow them best assess this.”
The Fixture List for 2020 matches the 2019 list with six blank Sundays, though the dates will differ next year, namely: April 26th, June 21st, July 26th, August 30th, September 6th and December 13th. In addition to the six completely blank Sundays, there are also five other Sundays during the Flat Turf season on which there is no flat racing (two in June and one each in August, September and October) while there are nine Sundays with no National Hunt racing in the April to September period.
The opening and closing race meetings of the Flat turf season will continue to be run at Naas on Sunday March 22nd and Sunday November 1st respectively.
Dublin Racing Festival February 1st–2nd
Cork Easter April 11th–13th
Fairyhouse Easter April 11th–13th
Punchestown National Hunt April 28th–May 2nd
Killarney Spring May 10th–12th
Curragh Guineas May 23rd–24th
Down Royal Ulster Derby June 19th–20th
Curragh Derby June 26th – 28th (now Friday to Sunday)
Bellewstown July July 1st–4th
Killarney July July 13th–17th
Curragh Oaks July 18th–19th
Galway July 27th–August 2nd
Tramore August August 13th–16th
Killarney August August 19th–22nd
Longines Irish Champions Weekend September 12th–13th
Listowel September 20th–26th
Down Royal NI Festival of Racing October 30th–31st
Punchestown November Winter Racing November 14th–15th
Fairyhouse Premier Jump Racing Weekend November 28th–29th
Leopardstown Christmas December 26th–29th
Limerick Christmas December 26th–29th