Boxing Day fixtures moved in expectation of no Christmas racecourse crowds
The BHA has unveiled a reshaped fixture list for the period between Christmas and the new year, designed it says to reflect "the likelihood that racing will take place behind closed doors".
Four of the eight scheduled meetings in Britain for Boxing Day have been moved as the regulator seeks to spread fixtures out to maximise betting revenue.
Huntingdon, Sedgefield, Fontwell and Market Rasen have all had their traditional Boxing Day fixtures redistributed, leaving Kempton's showpiece King George VI Chase meeting, Wetherby and Wincanton over jumps, as well as Wolverhampton on the Flat.
The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport has suspended trials of limited crowds and prime minister Boris Johnson warned in a statement to the House of Commons on September 23 that measures restricting attendance to sporting events could be in place for the next six months.
Changes to Christmas holiday period fixtures
- Huntingdon's afternoon fixture on December 26 moved to Dec 22
- Sedgefield's afternoon fixture moved from Dec 26 to Dec 22
- Fontwell's afternoon fixture moved from Dec 26 to Dec 28
- Market Rasen's afternoon fixture on Dec 26 moved to Dec 30
- Southwell afternoon flat fixture on Dec 29 moved to a floodlit fixture
In addition two afternoon meetings at Lingfield have been transferred to floodlight fixtures at Newcastle on December 28 and Wolverhampton on December 30.
In the context of Monday's announcements about the new three-tier system of classifying the coronavirus situation in specific localities, the BHA appears to have made an assessment that a return of even limited crowds is now off the agenda before Christmas.
The BHA did hold out a glimmer of hope that the decisions could be revisited if progress is made with the government in terms of a return to raceday crowds.
The statement read: "The fixture list remains subject to change including in the event that there are amendments to the government guidance on spectators attending sporting events."
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