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    Plans for Sunday night are postponed after the initial pilot
Plans for Sunday night are postponed after the initial pilot
The BHA has decided against implementing Sunday evening racing. Source: irishracing.com

Plans for Sunday night are postponed after the initial pilot

The British Horseracing Authority has decided against implementing Sunday evening racing after a trial period that did not live up to expectations.

Between January and March, there were six all-weather meetings. Before the meetings, turnover targets were established, which had to be reached for the project to be considered profitable.

Not only were the meetings disliked by numerous jockeys, staff members, and trainers, but they also did not attract enough betting interest. Bookmakers reported a three per cent decrease in turnover as compared to midweek floodlit fixtures.

This is true even though there was at least £145,000 in prize money awarded at each meeting, which resulted in an average field size of more than ten racers.

The BHA board stated that "deciding on a small sample presented challenges and therefore the industry should work to develop a proposal for a further trial, should future circumstances permit" but decided not to schedule any more pilot fixtures after taking comments and suggestions into account.

The BHA chair, Joe Saumarez Smith, said: “Although we have learnt some valuable lessons from the short trial, having considered the evidence, feedback and the recommendation from the commercial committee, the board has agreed that no further Sunday evening fixtures should be programmed at this stage. However, while the pilot did not deliver what we had hoped, there was a recognition of the challenges presented by making a decision based on such a small sample, especially when the data varied so significantly across the fixtures. It’s also the case that new concepts, which include behaviour change from the betting public, are likely to take time to settle in. The board concluded that the concept of Sunday evening racing is not something that should be dismissed and that it would like a further and longer trial to take place, where circumstances permit, to gather additional data.”

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