The changes were made to improve competitiveness in the sport

170 races focused on summer schedule as race officials announce changes for 2023 | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker

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The changes were made to improve competitiveness in the sport

Edward Whitaker

By Lewis Porteous

Racing officials have removed about 170 races from the summer 2023 program and reallocated some of them to autumn as part of a series of measures aimed at making racing in Britain more competitive next year.

The package includes a reduction in races at times of the year when field sizes are most under pressure, changes to scheduled race types, and allowing overseas runners to compete again in low-grade handicaps.

Wednesday’s announcement follows British Racing’s Industry Strategy Group meeting last month, which agreed immediate adjustments were needed to boost competitiveness in 2023, ahead of more sweeping changes to the sport from 2024, including the fixture schedule , be considered.

To cope with the volume of races, the maximum number of races programmed for July and August meetings on the Flat will be reduced from an average of 6.5 to six for all meetings where the total prize pool does not exceed £200,000. a move that will remove approximately 120 races over those two months.

To mitigate the financial impact of this reduction on the sport, all-weather meetings are allowed to schedule eight races in October and November, with the option to split them up into nine.

Over the July and August jumps, the maximum number of races programmed for matches not exceeding £200,000 in prize money will be reduced from seven to six and in September from an average of 6.5 to six, resulting in a reduction of approximately 50 races over this period. The average number of planned races at such meetings then increases from 6.5 to seven in October and November, and ten to 15 races are added in these months.


Important changes

flat race

  • 120 races in July and August, with a maximum of six races scheduled in games under £200,000 in prize money (races can still be split to create longer maps)
  • All-weather games allowed eight races to be programmed in October and November

jump race

  • Cut 40-50 races in July and August, with a maximum of six races planned in games with prizes under £200,000 (races can still be split to create longer maps).
  • Add 10-15 races to October and November meetings

Other Measures

  • Allow foreign-trained runners to compete in low-grade handicaps unless there are insufficient opportunities for UK-trained horses
  • Check out the Flat and Jumps Sample and Listed Race program

A number of changes to the race program for the flat and jumps were also agreed, with the worst performing races being removed.

At the level, a third of the worst condition races are removed and 10-12 percent of the Class 2 and Class 3 handicaps are changed. Pending a review of two-year-old numbers in early 2023, there will be a rebalancing of the kindergarten handicap program to better meet the needs of the population, and a 10-12 percent reduction in such races in July and August. The impact of Racing League on the rest of the racing program will also be reviewed, taking into account changes in racing conditions.

Above the jumps, the age-appropriate novice chase program will be replaced with a program of Class 3 handicap chases from May through August, although these will also be reduced by 10-15 percent. The Handicap Chase program will also be refocused to be more tailored to the horse population, affecting approximately ten percent of the Class 3 and 4 Handicap Chases.

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Richard Wegman:

Richard Wayman: “It is gratifying that agreement was reached quickly on this package of measures which will drive improvements in competitiveness”

Richard Wayman, BHA’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Across our industry, there was a consensus that while a more strategic approach is needed to ensure a vibrant future of racing, immediate action is needed to address issues surrounding competitiveness of the sport that we present to the public.

“It is gratifying that agreement was quickly reached on this package of measures that will improve competitiveness in the coming year. We can now focus a little further ahead and try to develop and implement more fundamental changes to make racing more attractive to fans and customers in 2024 and beyond.”

It was also announced on Wednesday that foreign-trained runners will be able to compete in low-grade handicaps, except during seasons when there aren’t enough opportunities for UK-trained runners, particularly from 1 September to 31 December on the Flat This change will take effect in early 2023.

The BHA has also said it is working with their respective pattern committees — the European Pattern Committee for the Flat and the Jumps Pattern Committee for the jumps — to review the pattern and listed race programs for both codes.

Discussions are ongoing with racetracks at the Flat with the goal of “strengthening, refining and consolidating” the program for black guys. Race officials say this is part of a two-year plan aimed at reducing the number of Flat Black-type races in 2023, while also setting a broader vision for 2024 with more significant changes.

Charlie Liverton, Executive Director of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: “Racing participants have for some time expressed frustration with race programming and the side effects of the current structure. I am pleased that this has been recognized and, moreover, working with the BHA, Racecourses, has helped develop a workable solution.

“This is an important sign that the industry is moving in the right direction and we can now turn to long-term strategic planning.”

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association added: “Following the two day strategy meeting in London, it is very encouraging to see the sport coming together and making some significant changes for the 2023 calendar.

“While the core of the strategy deliverables will be delivered in 2024, the RCA and its members fully support these short-term interventions that will definitely improve competitiveness in the short-term.”


Continue reading:

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Commentary: We’re doing something – but fewer races is an odd thing to cheer for (£)


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