Horse racing in the UK will finally find out the fixture list for 2012 after delays have meant the process being hampered since the end of June. The British Horseracing Authority this weekend announced that the list will be out no later than September 30th 2011 and include a reduction of 80 fixtures.
The delays have been put down to uncertainty over how races will be funded this year after a decline in the levy meant an uncertain future for the sport of kings.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the British Horseracing Authority, commented, “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, both as a sporting spectacle and as a betting medium.”
This year’s reduction in fixtures is being put down to the fact that there has been a decline in horse numbers. The amount of horses has weakened by 3.2% already in 2011 and it’s as if this could increase to 7% next year meaning that fields attracting seven or less runners are likely to continue.
Quinn added, “Horse numbers have been in steady decline since peaking in 2008 and, with the significantly reduced foal crops due to reach racing age, the sport cannot continue at its previous capacity. Although we are in the middle of a remarkable Flat season, the Board felt compelled to take this decision to protect the long term health of the sport.”
The list will be finalized and confirmed at the next meeting of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) on the 14th September.