Racing could yet return to Towcester in 2020 after the British Horseracing Authority confirmed it remains in discussion with the track’s owners.
The course went into administration last year and did not race at all last term, but the BHA has raised the prospect of a return to action after confirming the 10 fixtures assigned to the track have not been reallocated in the newly-published fixture list.
A statement said: “Discussions over the future of Towcester racecourse are continuing with its new owners and 10 fixtures historically staged at the Northamptonshire venue have been withheld from the 2020 fixture list at this time.
“It is anticipated that these 10 fixtures will be added to the fixture list in due course, either at Towcester or alternative racecourses.”
There are 20 less meetings scheduled for next year than in 2019, with earlier starts and finishes to racing and an extra day off at Christmas among other changes announced by the BHA last month, after the annual review of race-scheduling was completed.
Under the new guidelines no races are to start later than 9pm at evening fixtures in the summer, afternoon racing is to be under way by 2pm, the Christmas break will be extended by one day, with December 22 becoming a non-racing day, and the August break in jump racing will extend from nine days to 12.
Richard Wayman, chief operating officer at the BHA, said: “The 2020 fixture list and the policies governing it aim to balance the impact of the size of the fixture list on the thousands of people that work tirelessly to service it; the need to support the industry’s revenues and prize money levels; and the importance of promoting the longer-term interests of the sport by delivering more competitive and compelling racing.
“Production of the fixture list is rarely straightforward with sometimes conflicting objectives amongst the different parties within racing. In the current climate it is more important than ever that all the parties involved continue to work together to create a fixture list that delivers the best overall outcome for the sport.
“There is much to be positive about in this year’s fixture list, with measures such as the extended jump racing breaks, earlier finish times and more racing across the middle of the day brought in following feedback from both racing’s participants and its customers.
“Looking to the future, it is very encouraging that all involved in the process are supportive of the external analysis of the financial and economic state of the sport that is about to commence. This is an important piece of work as it will provide a basis of agreed facts from which to develop fixture strategy for the future.”