Jockey Club Racecourses has secured a strong programme of fixtures for 2012, the British Horseracing Authority confirmed today.
With 358 fixtures scheduled, more than any other racecourse group, JCR will host a quarter of the British racing programme at its 14 racecourses nationwide.
The Jockey Club hailed the news as good for the sport, given its long-held commitment to invest all profits back into British racing.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses
"We’re very pleased to have secured a competitive set of fixtures for next year. Overall, we see the 2012 fixture list as a balanced package, which aims to be mindful of the needs of all the sport’s constituents including Horsemen, racecourses and the betting industry.
“In 2011, we are scheduled to make a record £15.7m contribution into prize money. We need to work through this year’s performance before announcing specifics for 2012, but rest assured The Jockey Club will continue to lead from the front in terms of investing in prize money, which we regard as a vital investment in the health of our sport and its people.”
Highlights in JCR’s 2012 race programme include:
Investec Derby Festival launches H.M. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Investec Derby Day at Epsom Downs on Saturday 1 June 2012 will mark the official start to Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations ahead of an extended national holiday.
The fixture maintains its traditional slot as the first Saturday in June, as part of the two-day Investec Derby Festival starting on Friday 31 May 2012. It will feature three QIPCO British Champions Series races: the Investec Oaks, the Investec Coronation Cup and the Investec Derby.
Three-day Betfred Sprint Cup Festival
Following the completion of track developments, Haydock Park has been granted permission to expand its two-day Sprint Cup Meeting into a three-day Sprint Cup Festival on 6, 7 and 8 September in 2012 through the addition of a Thursday to the existing Friday and Saturday slots.
Having run Betfred Sprint Cup Day as a standalone Saturday in 2010, it has taken just two years to develop the three-day Betfred Sprint Cup Festival, after the addition of the Friday raceday in 2011 proved highly successful.
The completed track developments allow Haydock Park to host Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup Day card – featuring the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup as part of QIPCO British Champions Series – on a separate track to the Thursday and Friday racedays to provide the best possible ground for the duration of the Festival.
QIPCO British Champions Series
The Jockey Club is the largest shareholder in British Champions Series Ltd, including the new finale, QIPCO British Champions Day, staged at Ascot on Saturday 20 October in 2012.
Once again, JCR will host the launch of the QIPCO British Champions Series when Newmarket's Rowley Mile stages the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Saturday 5 May 2012, followed by the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Sunday 6 May 2012.
In all, JCR will host 11 races in QIPCO British Champions Series staged and owns half of the racecourses staging the premier Flat racing initiative: Epsom Downs, Haydock Park, Sandown Park, Newmarket's July Course and the Rowley Mile.
Strong programme at Kempton Park
With 95 fixtures, Kempton Park will host the second most racedays of any UK racecourse in 2012. In addition to a strong Jumps programme, 85 fixtures will be staged on its All-Weather track, including 49 Twilight fixtures which remain significant contributors to the Horserace Betting Levy yield.
In 2011, Sandown Park's bet365 Gold Cup Meeting was staged over Easter for one year only, as part of a move to maintain at least a three week gap between the Cheltenham Festival and the John Smith's Grand National Meeting.
In 2012, the fixture will be run on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April. Saturday will be run as a Mixed card, featuring the final Jump races of the 2011/12 season and the end of season Jump awards ceremony.
4-week gap between Cheltenham Festival and John Smith’s Grand National
The four-day Cheltenham Festival will be run between Tuesday 13 and Friday 16 March 2012 with a four week gap to the three-day John Smith's Grand National Meeting run between Thursday 12 and Saturday 14 April 2012. Traditionally there is a minimum three-week gap between the fixtures, but in 2011 calendar variations required adjustments to the fixture list in order to deliver this.