Bookmakers unconvinced by BHA 2022 fixture list

The BHA has announced additional races on Saturdays and Sundays.
The BHA has announced additional races on Saturdays and Sundays.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) plans to increase the number of meetings on Saturdays and Sundays.

UK.- The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has revealed its fixture list for 2022, adding more meetings on Saturdays and Sundays but with slightly fewer meetings overall.

UK racing will see 1,482 meetings in 2022 compared to 1,486 in 2021. A sixth race on ten Saturdays and eight Sundays aims to increase racecourse attendance, television audiences – and betting handles. However, bookmakers are not convinced.

Ladbrokes Coral PR Director Simon Clare told Racing Post: “The thing that jumps off the page is the addition of a sixth fixture on some Saturdays which isn’t what betting customers either want or need on days when the action already comes thick and fast.

“It goes without saying that those races and horses would deliver greater betting-related revenues in other positions in the programme.”

The BHA said there was a “reasonable expectation” that the extra Saturday fixtures will attract crowds of around 7,500. It’s also announced extra prize money.

The move was welcomed by National Trainers Federation chief executive, Rupert Arnold, although he said they could present some logistical difficulties for booking jockeys because of the one meeting per day rule.

Other changes include the addition of floodlighting at all Christmas fixtures to open new betting sessions, a wider geographical spread at the four-day Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, which will see new evening meetings on the Thursday and Friday.

BHA’s chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: “In producing the 2022 Fixture List, our overarching aim has been to enhance the appeal of racing to its followers.

“As ever, this has involved balancing a number of considerations such as seeking to deliver a competitive and compelling sport, whilst also supporting the revenues that encourage the acquisition and retention of owners and their horses.

“Also, staging fixtures at times when the public can enjoy them whilst also being mindful of the wellbeing impact on the participants who service them.

“Fixture policy is an area of tripartite decision making and, whilst there will inevitably be differences of opinion from time to time, there is complete agreement that the fixture list must continue to evolve as we listen to what racegoers, fans of the sport and the betting industry’s customers, are telling us.”

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