The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has published the 2020 fixture list. The policies governing the compilation of the fixture list were announced last month following significant debate amongst racing’s stakeholders as to the appropriate overall volume of fixtures to be included.
Agreement was reached 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.
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 track have been withheld from the 2020 fixture list. It is anticipated that these 10 fixtures will be added to the 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:
• 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).
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.”
The Irish fixture list for 2020 is expected to be published in early September.