Shake up on Sundays for British Racing

A new series of eight valuable Sunday fixtures is one of the features of the 2022 fixture list, which was published by the BHA on Monday.

The sport's leaders hope the meetings, which have been allocated for one year only, will help drive attendances and betting revenues, especially when covered by ITV.

It is expected the prize-money for each of the fixtures involved will be more than £100,000.

Next year's fixture list comprises an initial 1,482 fixtures, four fewer than this year. However, discussions are ongoing regarding the volume of races that will take place.

The 2022 schedule does not yet include the six fixtures that were added this year for the Racing League, with discussions with Arena Racing Company and the Racing League now starting following the conclusion of this year's controversial competition.

Another innovation that may prove controversial given complaints over the volume of racing at weekends is the approval of ten additional BHA fixtures as a sixth fixture on a Saturday.

The BHA said racecourses' executive contribution to prize-money for such fixtures must be no less than £100,000 and there should be a reasonable expectation that the fixture would attract an attendance of at least 7,500.

The 2022 schedule also includes a small number of 'rider restricted fixtures' to facilitate the slight extension of breaks for the busiest jockeys in March and November on the Flat, and August for jumps.

BHA chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: "In producing the 2022 fixture list, our overarching aim has been to enhance the appeal of racing to its followers. As ever, this has involved balancing a number of considerations such as seeking to deliver a competitive and compelling sport, while also supporting the revenues that encourage the acquisition and retention of owners and their horses. Also, staging fixtures at times when the public can enjoy them while also being mindful of the wellbeing impact on the participants who service them.

"Fixture policy is an area of tripartite decision making and, while there will inevitably be differences of opinion from time to time, there is complete agreement that the fixture list must continue to evolve as we listen to what racegoers, fans of the sport and the betting industry's customers, are telling us.

"We have built on some of the initiatives trialled during the pandemic, such as the creation of additional relatively high value meetings on Sundays, and we will continue to look for more opportunities to use the fixture list to support the future of the sport."

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