BHA eases off 2020 calendar

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed changes to the Fixture List for 2020. The 2020 calendar will contain 1,491 meetings, down from 1,511 programmed this year.

It will be the first reduction since 2012, when the 1,456 fixtures was a dip on 1,480 the previous year. Among the changes will be an extension to the blank days at the Christmas period, with a four-day gap beginning Dec. 22. Jump jockeys will also benefit from an extended holiday in August, with their break stretched out to 12 days from nine.

The decision follows multiple comments on the mental well-being of the industry’s participants and the relentless nature of the racing calendar.

“It’s clear to everyone surely that the current horse population cannot sustain the fixture list. We’re pleased that the BHA reduced the size of the fixture list but we’d like it to be more than it is. The good news is that there is a recognition from everybody, apart from the racecourses, that there is too much racing,” said Ralph Beckett, member of National Trainers Federation council.

“We’ve been told for years that more fixtures will mean higher gross profits and therefore feed through to prize-money. The latest figures say that isn’t happening. We need to get back to a fixture list that drives interest, because that is what will drive turnover,” he added.

Fixture List for 2020 is due to be published in August.

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