Bha 2019 fixtures considers work life balance for jockeys and stable staff – course specialist

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) – with unanimous support from the members of British racing’s Executive Committee, which comprises of the sport’s tripartite structure of BHA, Racecourse Association (RCA) and Horsemen’s Group – has today confirmed the policies which it has been agreed will be applied during the formation of the 2019 Fixture List.

A six-day break will be introduced for Flat racing participants at the end of the Turf season in November. In addition there will be an intended five-day break in March towards the end of the All-Weather season (although additional late notice fixtures may be programmed during this period in exceptional circumstances if all Jump fixtures on a day look likely to be abandoned).

The addition of 15 floodlit fixtures in autumn, to be run alongside existing floodlit cards on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as part of a one year trial to test their popularity with the betting industry’s customers.

These fixtures will be programmed in September and October when there is currently a relatively high level of race eliminations and so any impact on field sizes is expected to be negligible.

In addition, from within the existing prize money budget – and subject to formal approval from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) – racing’s tripartite bodies have agreed to support extending the recently introduced Appearance Money Scheme. Currently the scheme pays an extra £100 to horses finishing in the first eight on Friday and Saturday floodlit and summer evening fixtures, guaranteeing connections £400. This extra payment will now be extended to cover all floodlit fixtures (January to mid-April, and September to December).

“At the same time, as the world changes and betting behaviours alter – in particular the ongoing and ever increasing switch to digital betting platforms – it is essential that the sport adapts to meet this demand and schedules its fixtures and races accordingly. We must maximise revenues to the sport and its people by engaging with betting audiences at times when we know they want to bet and have few other sporting options to do so.

“Although plans are being developed for how racing would respond to a reduction in its future revenue streams, we would obviously want to digest the implications of any such changes – which would not be felt immediately – before making fundamental changes to our fixture policy. The current expectation is that any changes in betting regulation will not be in force until mid-2019.

“It is important that all those that make their living from the sport can plan for the immediate future with confidence and the fixture policy for 2019 has been agreed in the expectation that Levy receipts for 2017/18 will be at or above forecast and also that Levy Board reserves should be increased to at least £40m by the end of the year.”

1. Floodlit fixtures will be scheduled with the aim of providing greater continuity from the start of afternoon racing through until the final race of the day. This will involve staging up to a maximum of eight races on floodlit cards with the aim of minimising the gap to no more than 20 minutes between the end of the afternoon fixtures and the beginning of the floodlit fixture. This goal will be achieved throughout the floodlit racing period other than from mid-November to mid-January when the early sunset time will mean that there is a slightly longer gap.