BRITISH racing will have virtually the same number of fixtures in 2023 as are scheduled for this year, despite a growing feeling in the industry that the total needs to be reduced.
The 2023 fixture list was published this week and contains 1,478 meetings which is just four fewer than programmed for 2022. However, the minimum prize money level will be raised by approximately £700 and there will be significant boosts for Group/Grade 1 races.
Prize money for Group 1 races on the flat will be raised by £50,000, while top-level contests over fences will receive the same increase, with a £25,000 raise in Grade 1 over hurdles. Grade 1 novice chases and novice hurdle races will have minimum values raised by £35,000 and £20,000 respectively.
Notable changes to the calendar include the St Leger Festival at Doncaster switching to start on a Thursday and finish on a Sunday, while the Christmas break will be just two days, with four fixtures staged on December 23rd.
There will be a maximum of five fixtures on any Saturday afternoon and there are four ‘code breaks’ – two each on the flat and over jumps – to allow participants time off.
British fixture highlights
March 14th: Cheltenham Festival starts
April 1st: Later than usual start to the turf flat season with the Lincoln at Doncaster
April 15th: Late slot for the Grand National at Aintree, just 10 days before Punchestown starts.