The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) have taken a joint decision to introduce ‘non-standard race times’ on a permanent basis, starting 1 October 2020, through their respective fixture schedules.
The governing bodies have taken a decision to prevent fixture collisions and postponed meetings, with non-standard race times providing racegoers, trainers and broadcasters with greater fixture clarification.
In the future, British and Irish racecourses will follow non-standard race times when there are ‘four or more fixtures’ running simultaneously in a single session or race era.
In its update, the BHA confirmed that, wherever possible, fixtures covered by lead terrestrial broadcaster ITV Racing would retain their normal start times.
After the successful trial back in February, the BHA and HRI introduced the new protocol, in which the governing bodies reported positive results in reduced race collisions and scheduled delays for busy day afternoons races.
BHA Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman said: “Following further collaboration with our colleagues in Ireland and discussions with the betting industry, we believe bringing in non-standard times on a permanent basis would continue to deliver considerable benefits to our customers.
“We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in attempting to ensure that races go off on time and there will, of course, still be occasions when unavoidable clashes and delays occur. However, this decision will help to minimise the frequency of such occurrences and ultimately allow us to schedule races in the best possible way for followers of the sport.”
Helping UK racing recover for COVID-19 impacts, the BHA launched its ‘next phase action plan’ last month, launching a set of targets endorsed by The Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association (RCA).
Anticipating that UK racing is going to ‘weather a deep recession,’ the BHA proposed a series of changes aimed at protecting participants in the sport while reducing the operational cost base for owners of racing.
Marked as a primary recovery priority, the BHA stressed that it would seek immediate levy reforms in pursuit of greater contribution to the bookmaker’s wagers on racing equipment.