2020 Irish horse racing fixture list announced
Tramore Racecourse in County Waterford is one of seven additional fixtures that has been allocated for the Irish racing calendar in 2020, a move that will see the total number of fixtures increased to 370.
The fixture list for 2020 was approved by the board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) at their meeting yesterday.
The seven additional fixtures have been allocated to Tramore (July 8), Cork (July 24), The Curragh (September 26), Kilbeggan (July 10), Listowel (May 30), Naas (August 23) and Sligo (October 23).
To help ease pressure on stable staff and trainers, there will also be six blank Sundays in 2020, matching the total for this year.
Next year’s fixture list also sees changes to the Curragh’s Derby Festival, reverting to the traditional Friday to Sunday schedule. The Irish Grand National meeting also changes for the first time to a Saturday to Monday schedule.
Listowel’s seven-day Harvest Festival 2020 will begin later in the month of September (Sunday 20) to avoid a clash with the National Ploughing Championships.
Announcing the 2020 fixture list, HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “There will be 370 race meetings in the fixture list next year, which reflects the most recent industry figures which showed the number of horses in training continuing to rise, and strong average field sizes.
“Our priority continues to be facilitating opportunities for the horse population in Ireland, which is essential to growing the industry here. With increasing numbers of horses in training, which in turn provides jobs all over the country, it is appropriate to provide increased opportunities.
“We had very strong applications from racecourses seeking extra fixtures and I congratulate those tracks which have been successful. The Curragh, Naas and Cork have undergone much development work in recent times while Kilbeggan, Sligo, Tramore and Listowel are immensely popular tracks in different parts of the country.”
Dundalk’s early season schedule will cease on April 22 to facilitate their timetable for the replacement of the current surface with a view to the work being completed in early June, a month ahead of their first summer fixture on Sunday, July 12, with their traditional August 15 date also reinstated next year.
The Curragh fixture list for 2020 sees a number of changes to its 2019 schedule. These include reverting to its traditional earlier start date for the year on March 29. There will also be a reduction in the number of the Curragh’s Friday fixtures (down from seven to three), with one Wednesday and one Saturday evening being trialled. Additionally, the Derby Festival will revert to its traditional Friday evening/Saturday/Sunday schedule, with the Irish Derby on the Saturday.
The fixture list for 2020 matches the 2019 list with six blank Sundays, though the dates will differ next year, namely: April 26, June 21, July 26, August 30, September 6 and December 13. In addition to the six completely blank Sundays, there are also five other Sundays during the flat turf season on which there is no flat racing (two in June and one each in August, September and October), while there are nine Sundays with no national hunt racing in the April to September period.
The opening and closing race meetings of the flat turf season will continue to be run at Naas on March 22 and November 1 respectively.
The Tramore August Festival will take place from August 13-16. The full fixture list is available online.
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