What to expect from horse racing in 2020

horse racing
Written by Nigel Simpkins

The latest fixtures list has been released for 2020 by the British Horseracing Authority and fans are eagerly anticipating what a new calendar will bring in terms of winners and losers. There are 1,481 fixtures programmed which is 30 less than this year’s Fixture List, including ten of the fixtures staged at Towcester which are still to be added to the list. Among them are the fan favourites such as the Royal Ascot, Cheltenham and the Grand National which promise, as ever, to be exciting events that shouldn’t be missed. Here’s what else 2020 will bring horse racing fans.

Changes to the BHA Fixtures List

The BHA has stated that in 2020, there will be no races starting later than 9pm in terms of evening fixtures in the summer months, while the Christmas break will be extended by a day to include 22nd December as a non-racing day. The board has also extended the jump racing break in August from nine to 12 days for next year.  The needs of the online betting public are also being prioritised, with changes to afternoon racing that state that the race needs to be underway by 2pm at the latest.

The new measures for next year include cuts to the ratios of fixtures, with 579 jump fixtures scheduled, 902 flat fixtures and 1070 afternoon fixtures for the betting public, all of which are fewer than listed in 2019. Meanwhile, the budget for Irish racing remains unchanged following the uncertainty caused by Brexit – the Irish Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund will receive €80m in funding. A no-deal Brexit would effectively put an end to the Tripartite Agreement which promises the free movement of horses between the three jurisdictions, and this could have detrimental impact on those in the Irish racing industry too so this could well impact racing in Ireland in 2020.

Horses to Watch Out For in the 2020 Races

In terms of horses to watch out for in 2020, there are a few potential highlights that punters will want to take note of. Dickie Diver was purchased for £210,000 have won his only Irish point to point but has since developed into a top-quality staying novice hurdler for Nicky Henderson and shows great promise. Fly Smart also looks like an exciting recruit for Willie Mullins and the Riccis, having been trained by Guillaume Macaire and winning his only start on the flat before making the switch to hurdles.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Grade 2 winning hurdler Midnight Shadow and stablemate Hill Sixteen as well. The former Irish pointer only won once over hurdles but looks like a chaser in the making, so is definitely one to watch. Eleven-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Triumph Hurdle on two occasions and is hoping that Mick Pastor will be a great contender for next March’s event, so that will be a race to look forward to for fans and punters alike