|Wednesday, July 30, 2008||Contact: Tamarisk Doyle, PR/Promotions Manager|
|Ireland publishes '09 fixtures list|
The Irish racing fixtures for 2009 were released today (Tuesday 29th July) by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI). The key points in relation to the 2009 Fixture List are:
Total Number of Fixtures
All Pattern race moves will need to be approved by HRI’s Programmes Committee and then ratified by the European Pattern Race Committee.
Start/End of the Seasons
Flat – The Flat season will start at Dundalk on Friday evening 27th February, although the races on this card (including a couple of bumpers) will predominantly be aimed at dual purpose horses (a number of Cheltenham contenders ran at the equivalent meeting in 2008). There will then be a three week gap before the next flat fixture on Friday evening, 20th March.
The removal of several early season all weather fixtures, which were not well supported by either the horse population or racegoers in 2008, has allowed for three additional Wednesday evenings to be created in November 2009. This will facilitate racing twice a week following the conclusion of the turf flat season, as sought by Dundalk following last year’s experience. The flat season will then conclude at Dundalk on Friday evening, 27th November, one week earlier than this year.
National Hunt – Due to the later date for the Punchestown Festival next year, the national hunt season will end on Saturday 2nd May, one week later than in Britain. This also means that any horse losing its novice status at Punchestown will still remain a novice for the 2009/10 British national hunt season.
There are nine Saturday evenings scheduled for 2009, which is one up on this year but still below the previous highest total of ten. Tipperary has lost its Saturday evening in July, while the two new 2009 dates are Galway on 29th August, as part of an earlier and expanded four day Festival, and Dundalk on 7th November to coincide with the running of the Breeders Cup in America. This will facilitate the opening of off-course betting shops throughout Ireland on that evening.
Commenting on the 2009 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, HRI Chief Executive said: “Given the developments in relation to Tralee and the Curragh, 2009 was always going to be a challenging fixture list. That said, I believe that the HRI Fixtures Committee have produced an exciting schedule of racing with a small increase of five fixtures overall. A first ever Group 1 race for Naas, new Festivals for Listowel, Killarney and Galway, significant changes to the Autumn all weather programme and a move to Thursday evenings for Leopardstown’s summer fixtures are the main features. Whilst the balloting situation has improved somewhat this year, continued focus on this area is necessary and HRI will therefore continue to place an emphasis on staging quality racing at times and venues that best suit the racegoing public.”