BHA prepare cuts for 2012 schedule
Published 07/08/2011 | 05:00
Racing fixtures in Britain will be cut by at least 80 after the British Horseracing Authority decided to cap the number at 1,400. Publication of the 2012 programme, delayed because of discussions on funding from the Levy Board, will be no later than September 30.
The fixture allocation process has been suspended since early June, but funding is expected to be confirmed at the next Levy Board meeting on September 14, after which the total number will be finalised.
The decision to cut fixtures, explained in a BHA statement, was "due to concerns regarding the ability of the declining horse population to continue to service the existing fixture list."
It added that recent analytical research into the likely impact of sharply falling foal crops strongly suggested an increased rate of decline in horse numbers in 2012.
As nearly 40 per cent of races attract seven or fewer runners, the reduction had been approved with a view to protecting the competitiveness of British racing. Major events in the 2012 calendar will not be affected by the ongoing discussions and have been published.
"Although the size and shape of the fixture list cannot be finalised until the impact of the significantly reduced levy has been confirmed, we have taken this action to try to ensure that falling horse numbers will not erode the attractiveness of British racing," said Ruth Quinn, BHA director of racing.
"The process will involve removing a majority of the leasehold fixtures that had been agreed on a one-year only basis for 2011 between racecourses and horsemen, and we will continue to consult with stakeholders to ensure that the fixture slots that are removed will be those that are of the least value to racing."
All 60 British racecourses have been made aware of the changes and the process of consultation regarding the removal of fixture slots is ongoing.
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