The Reduced 2020 British Fixture List Revealed
Both British racing fans and those heavily involved within the sport today learned of the new racing fixture list for 2020. In what will undoubtedly be a polarising move, the total number of races for next year has been reduced by 30 and further measures will be taken in an effort to look after the ‘wellbeing of participants’.
With prize money levels under more pressure than ever before, discussions surrounding fixture volume are now more difficult than ever before. However, in a bid to ease the burden of fixture congestion, the BHA board has removed 20 BHA-allocated fixtures from last year’s list and the reaction to this in upcoming days, weeks and months will certainly make for interesting reading.
Back on track at Towcester?
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) August 6, 2019
In other fixture-related news, a racing return at Towcester has not been ruled out for 2020. It is expected that 10 fixtures which have been historically held at the track will be added in due course but whether this is at Towcester or other alternative racecourses is anyone’s guess.
If this all goes to plan then 1,481 fixtures will be initially programmed in the 2020 season compared to 1,511 in the current campaign. The good news for racing fans is that the formats and dates of the calendar’s biggest races remain largely unaltered. Both the Ladbrokes and King George VI chases will take place in November and December, respectively, and the Grand National is set to go ahead on April 4th. As it stands in the upcoming tournament, Tiger Roll is still the 5/1 favourite with most horse racing betting to make history and win three races in a row.
Mental health implications
With Doncaster course clerk, Roderick Duncan recently speaking out about the relentless racing schedule and impact this has had on his mental health, the mental wellbeing of the participants of the sport has been under increasing scrutiny and spotlight.
It’s fair to say that elite sport is slowly but surely waking up to widespread mental health issues, and horse racing is the latest in a long line to take preventative measures in order to aid support for its competitors. Jump jockeys will enjoy a longer holiday this month with their break extended from 9 days to 12. In addition to this, there will be an extension to the blank days in the Christmas period with a four-day gap commencing on December 22nd.
Good for the sport
Whilst punters obviously want as many races as possible in betting and entertainment terms, fixture pile-up was becoming a problem for those closely involved in the sport. Keeping both camps happy in this regard is a delicate balancing act but it seems that the removal of a few races here and there, and extended breaks for the jockeys, could be a viable solution to the problem. However, only time will tell with regards to how successful this will be.