|Friday 26th August 2022
The Full Fixture List and Dates for 2023 are Revealed
The British Horseracing Authority and the Racecourse Association have released the full fixture list for 2023’s action on the flat and over jumps.
The traditional New Year’s Day meetings will be hosted by six different venues, with Cheltenham, Exeter and Musselburgh likely to be popular destinations for those seeking some post-Christmas fresh air.
The first quarter of the year will de dominated by National Hunt action, with the Clarence House Chase (January 21), Betfair Chase (February 18) and the Kempton Park Chase (February 25) just some of the early eye-catchers.
As ever, the Cheltenham Festival will see a swell in betting online as serious punters and more recreational flutterers come together to see who will prevail across the four days. The action gets underway on Tuesday March 14, with all roads leading to the Gold Cup on the 17th.
Most betting tipsters will be predicting a two horse race in the Festival showpiece between defending champion A Plus Tard (4/1) and Galopin Des Champs (7/2), although the likes of Punchestown Gold Cup winner Allaho (10/1), Ahoy Senor (10/1) and L’Homme Presse (14/1) could yet force their way into the reckoning.
Rachael Blackmore makes history to become the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup!— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 18, 2022
A Plus Tard, ridden by Rachael Blackmore and trained by Henry de Bromhead, wins the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. pic.twitter.com/CWJf73W4T8
April is a key month for both forms of racing, and while the Grand National (April 15) acts as a figurative end to the UK’s campaign over jumps, it also ushers in the start of flat racing too.
Racegoers won’t have to wait long before the first majors of the flat campaign – Newmarket hosts the Guineas weekender from May 5-7, while Chester and York host traditional festival dates of their own in the fifth month of the year.
The first weekend of June will see the Epsom Derby, while the ever-beloved Royal Ascot will run through June 20-24. The height of summer will see plenty of action too, before the St Leger Festival (September 14-17) begins the countdown to the British Champions Series, which brings the curtain down on the flat campaign on Saturday October 7.
It’s all systems go!
Prize Money Increased at All Levels
One of the great fears of racing chiefs in the UK is that more and more horses will be raced overseas if field sizes don’t improve and often mediocre prize money isn’t addressed.
And so the BHA has moved to plug the gap by increasing the minimum values in UK races, ensuring a relative pay increase that will – hopefully – encourage more yards to be active and not leave some renewals with just two or three runners declared.
The minimum prize fund for lower grade racing will be increased by £700, while for Grade 1 renewals over obstacles, pay will rise by £25,000 over hurdles and a whopping £50,000 over fences.
There’s a similar picture on the flat too, with Group 1 encounters seeing a £200,000 minimum prize fund and Group 2 renewals enjoying a rise of at least £10,000 to current kitties.
If that encourages the top yards to race more regularly then all the better – hopefully, that will lead to a stellar 2023 for British horse racing.