In recent years, the late publication of the fixture list has prevented trainers planning ahead for runners over the winter and has damaged field sizes. Therefore the NTF welcomes publication of the 2016 fixture list earlier than scheduled and we look forward to Programme Book 1 being available commensurately early.
During the fixture process, we encouraged the BHA to be more proactive in highlighting specific geographical clashes they wished to resolve in discussion with racecourses. We are therefore pleased to see progress in this area and especially on resolving double headers in the northern jump fixture list. There is still more to do to optimise the distribution of jump fixtures in the north but the situation is improving
The conversion of Newcastle’s flat turf course to All Weather is easily the most radical feature of the 2016 Fixture List. It will help meet the established demand for an AWT in the north but most trainers would have preferred to see it sited closer to the northern training centres to reduce owners’ racing costs and they are saddened by the loss of a quality turf course.
At a strategic level, the prospect of reduced Levy Board funding for prize money calls into question the sustainability of a fixture list on the 2016 scale. The supply of horses won’t meet the industry’s field size demands and there is no economic viability in racing at lower levels for returns that haven’t kept up with rising costs.