Thursday, September 17, 2020

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) today published the fixture list for 2021, which will see the overall number of fixtures increasing from the original 2020 figure of 370 to 380 next year. The list contains 379 meetings at this stage, as one ‘floating fixture’ will be kept in reserve, to be programmed at short notice by the HRI Fixtures Committee at a time when demand for opportunities to run is very high.

Starting Stalls
Fairyhouse Racecourse.
Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post

There will be an increase of seven turf fixtures (to 339), one being the floating fixture, with the six allocated additional meetings being staged at Gowran Park (Flat, April 8), Kilbeggan (National Hunt, April 22), Punchestown (Flat, September 14), Bellewstown (Flat, September 29 as part of new two-day meeting with a fixture moved from August), Killarney (Flat, October 2 with a fixture also moved from August to create two-day weekend meeting) and the Curragh (Flat, October 26). These new fixtures have been allocated in industry-focused slots and are targeted at meeting the anticipated requirements of the horse population at that time.

There will also be an increase of three in the number of All-Weather Track fixtures at Dundalk in 2021, thereby providing a consistent offering of two AWT meetings per week throughout November and December when demand is normally at its peak. Wednesday fixtures at the course will be held in the late afternoon, while Friday evening meetings will be held at their traditional times.

Jason Morris, HRI’s Director of Racing, said: “The 2021 Fixture List has very largely reverted to the original 2020 schedule with the number of blank Sundays being retained at six to help ease pressure on stable staff and trainers. As we all know, 2020 was severely impacted by the 11-week cessation of racing from March 26 to June 8 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, after which it has featured a heavily revised schedule with 330 fixtures being retained overall.

“The HRI Board recognises the uncertain times we are facing, but wanted to produce a full year fixture list at this stage to assist owners, trainers and racecourses with their planning. In the event that racing is disrupted or attendances are not permitted or heavily restricted for a prolonged period in 2021, it is recognised that revisions to the schedule may be necessary. In such circumstances, HRI will be flexible and respond to the circumstances as we find them with regard to dates, venues and codes of meetings, however the strong preference will be to run the full schedule of fixtures as published today.”

The dates of the major racing Festivals for 2021 will be:

Dublin Racing Festival February 6th – 7th
Cork Easter April 3rd – 5th
Fairyhouse Easter April 3rd – 5th
Punchestown National Hunt April 27th – May 1st
Killarney Spring May 9th – 11th
Curragh Guineas May 22nd – 23rd
Down Royal Ulster Derby June 18th – 19th
Curragh Derby June 25th – 27th
Bellewstown July July 1st – 3rd
Killarney July July 12th – 16th
Curragh Oaks July 17th – 18th
Galway Summer Festival July 26th – August 1st
Tramore August August 12th – 15th
Killarney August August 19th – 21st
Longines Irish Champions Weekend September 11th – 12th
Listowel Harvest Festival September 19th – 25th
Down Royal NI Festival of Racing October 29th – 30th
Punchestown November Winter Racing November 13th – 14th
Fairyhouse Premier Jump Racing Weekend November 27th – 28th
Leopardstown Christmas December 26th – 29th
Limerick Christmas December 26th – 29th
Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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