HRI confirm 39 extra fixtures...


HRI confirm 39 extra fixtures before year end, flat season extension

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Horse Racing Ireland has confirmed there will be a one-week extension of the flat season. 

In a revised calendar for the last five months of the year, they've also squeezed in an additional 39 fixtures.

Racing is due to resume behind closed doors at Naas on Monday (June 8).

HRI had already added nine fixtures to their programme for June and July following their coronavirus-related hiatus.

In total, 48 of the 87 fixtures lost between March and June 8 now have new dates.

The total number of fixtures scheduled for 2020 will now reach 331, compared to 370 originally due to take place.

The flat season's new end date will be November 7 - a week later than usual - at Naas Racecourse.

The Curragh will stage two extra meetings in the final week of the 2020 flat season, while Dundalk will have five extra fixtures slotted into their November schedule.

The traditional beach meeting at Laytown on September 1 will be kept under review, as it remains unclear at this stage whether adequate safety protocols will be required or able to be implemented.

HRI director of racing Jason Morris said, "We have worked closely with all racecourses to develop a fixture list for the remainder of 2020 which is appropriate for both the horse population and each individual track, and we are very grateful for the excellent co-operation received from racecourse managers.

"We have spread the additional opportunities throughout the year and over both codes to reflect the meetings that were lost over the March to June period. By significantly expanding the number of Flat opportunities in November, including an extra week of turf racing, we are elongating the season in recognition of the severely delayed start experienced by owners, trainers and jockeys.

"All fixtures which were due to be staged from the start of July onwards have been retained with no track foregoing any of their meetings although some have changed dates.

Morris added, "Race meetings are all single code to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse with the possible sole exception of the Listowel Festival. Depending upon social distancing requirements and potential crowd limitations in late September, Listowel could host mixed cards on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of their seven-day Festival. If this is not possible, there will be five all-National Hunt days, with Flat racing on the Monday and Thursday.

"HRI has agreed to a request from Punchestown to stage one Flat meeting (on September 3) which will be subject to satisfactory trial gallops being staged over the proposed track layout in advance of the fixture. Punchestown’s other six re-instated fixtures will all remain National Hunt."

The full fixture list can be viewed here.

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