Jockey Club Racecourses secures strong 2011 race programme

24th September 2010

Binocular and AP McCoy storm to victory in the 2010 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle

Binocular and AP McCoy storm to victory in the 2010 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle

 

  • JCR maintains a quarter of British racing's race programme with 366 fixtures
  • JCR to host 10 British Champions' Series races including launch
  • Several appealing race moves and transfers confirmed

 

Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), the largest racecourse group in the UK by courses, fixtures, attendances, prize money contributions and revenue, today welcomed the news that it is scheduled to host 366 race fixtures in 2011, equating to a quarter (25%) of the British racing calendar.

Paul Fisher, Chief Operating Officer, Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "We're pleased that at last there is some certainty in the 2011 fixture list. We feel we have secured a strong race programme across our 14 racecourses in terms of the type, spread and timing of fixtures. Our 2011 programme has several aspects that are improvements on 2010, which will also benefit our customers and British racing as a whole.

"Yet without doubt, the significant loss of funding from the Horserace Betting Levy has meant that 2011 will cost us more to race than ever. We have a track record of contributing by far the largest amount of prize money into the sport of any racecourse group and for 2011 we have committed to The Horsemen's Group to at least maintain our three-year average prize money level and fund additional fixtures where our applications have been successful.

"We will always do the maximum we can for the good of racing; now we need to be given the opportunity to race, promote the best British racing and continue our history of reinvesting in our sport."

Key highlights in JCR's 2011 race programme:

Jockey Club Racecourses will host 10 of the 30 British Champions' Series races at five of the 10 leading racecourses involved – Newmarket's Rowley Mile, Newmarket's July Course, Epsom Downs, Sandown Park and Haydock Park – leading up to the major new industry day at Ascot in October 2011.

Next year will see Newmarket take centre stage at a number of moments in the Flat season, in keeping with its heritage as the Home of Racing. Five British Champions' Series races will be staged by Newmarket Racecourses in 2011 – three on the Rowley Mile, including the launch of the Series at the 2,000 Guineas on 30 April, plus the 1,000 Guineas and the Joel Stakes, and two on the July Course as part of the July Festival, which are the Falmouth Stakes and the July Cup.

Newmarket will host an additional high profile Saturday slot next year as the July Festival shifts from Wednesday to Friday to run from Thursday to Saturday, which is 7-9 July in 2011.

Britain's first ever Future Champions' Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2011 on the Rowley Mile, featuring six Group races: the Dewhurst Stakes, Middle Park Stakes, Rockfel Stakes and Autumn Stakes all for 2yo horses, and the Challenge Stakes, Darley Stakes for 3yo and upwards, as well as the Cesarewitch Heritage Handicap.

This has been made possible as part of a race transfer agreement with Ascot associated with British Champions' Series. That agreement will also see the Fillies' Mile staged at Newmarket on 23 September 2011. This will see Newmarket stage four of the five Group 1s contested by two-year-olds in the UK calendar, strengthening its reputation for hosting top juvenile races. This will be cemented by the transfer of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, which will be run on the Rowley Mile Course on 24 September 2011.

Aintree secures a Saturday slot for its Becher Chase Day, which moves to the first Saturday in December from its 2010 position on a November Sunday. The move is made in the interests of securing terrestrial television coverage and secures a strong Saturday programme for JCR with Sandown's Tingle Creek Day.

Sandown Park will host its two-day bet365 Gold Cup meeting over the 2011 Easter weekend on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April, as part of a series of moves to maintain the important three-week gap between the totesport Cheltenham Festival and Aintree's John Smith's Grand National Meeting required due to the very late Easter period. A mixed card will be staged on the Saturday and a Flat only card on the Sunday. The move provides JCR with an opportunity to attract Easter crowds and was made possible by the cooperation of racecourses outside its group.

As part of plans to build quality supporting cards to Haydock Park's main racedays, it has reinstated the Friday to accompany the Group 1 Sprint Cup card on Saturday 3 September and added a Friday ahead of its Grade 1 Betfair Chase Day on Saturday 19 November.

Kempton Park is scheduled to race 97 times next year. As a result of a funding package being agreed with the Horserace Betting Levy Board, Kempton Park has secured 48 twilight fixtures in 2011. This is an important outcome for Kempton Park and is reflective of the ability of twilight fixtures to contribute significantly to Levy yield.