UK racing adopts non-standard race times to support its broadcast appeal 

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) have taken the joint decision to adopt ‘non-standard race times’ across their respective fixtures schedules on a permanent basis, commencing 1 October 2020.

The governing bodies have undertaken the decision to avoid fixture clashes and delayed races, with non-standard race times delivering further fixture clarity to racegoers, trainers and broadcasters.

Moving forward, British and Irish racecourses will adopt non-standard race times in instances when there are ‘four or more fixtures’ running concurrently in one session or period of racing. 

In its update, the BHA stated that fixtures covered by lead terrestrial broadcaster ITV Racing will maintain their standard start times whenever possible.

The BHA and HRI adopted the new procedure following the successful trial back in February, in which the governing bodies recorded positive results in reduced race clashes and scheduled delays for busy race day afternoons.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, 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, last month the BHA published its ‘next phase action plan‘, launching a set of objectives approved by The Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association (RCA).

Anticipating that UK racing will ‘weather a  deep recession’, the BHA outlined a set of reforms aimed at protecting the sport’s investors, while minimising the operating cost base for racing owners.

Marked as a key recovery objective, the BHA underlined that it would pursue immediate levy reforms, seeking greater contribution for bookmaker’s wagers taken on racing fixtures.

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