Runners and riders in action at Ffos Las (David Davies/PA)A total of 448 fixtures have been confirmed by the British Horseracing Authority for the period from January to April next year.

Provisional dates for fixtures during the period from May to December have also been published, albeit these dates will be confirmed in due course subject to further information being available in relation to the return of spectators, the size of the horse population and the level of finance available for the fixture list from all sources.

While the total number of Flat fixtures has reduced, the number of Flat races will remain unchanged. This is due to a reduction in the total number of all-weather fixtures during the period but extending the length of cards at floodlit fixtures to include up to nine races so that the total race numbers remain similar.

With Covid-protocols continuing, the temporary rule which permits jockeys to ride at only one fixture per day will be extended into 2021.

Richard Wayman, chief operating officer for the BHA, said: “Although the current unprecedented levels of uncertainty make planning for the future challenging, the publication of a fixture list and minimum prize money levels for the first four months of next year provides the sport with clarity over racing’s plans for the immediate future.

“In addition, by publishing the confirmed dates of major fixtures for the remainder of the year, we hope this will help owners, participants and racecourses begin to make their plans for 2021.

“We continue to discuss with government a consistent approach to allowing sporting events to go ahead with spectators as soon as possible but in developing the fixture list for the beginning of next year, we have focussed on creating a schedule that maximises off-course betting turnover and, where possible, reduces the costs of staging fixtures.

“In doing so, we have also sought to reduce the pressures on racing’s workforce of servicing the fixture list including by staging extended cards on the all-weather with a corresponding decrease in fixture numbers.

“We are particularly grateful to the Horserace Betting Levy Board for their continued financial support which has enabled us to confirm that pre-Covid minimum values will remain in place for mid and lower-tier races, whilst also retaining the appearance money scheme that is popular with many owners.

“Their enhanced support, however, is not sustainable, and ahead of racing presenting proposals for fixture funding for the remainder of the year, efforts continue to generate additional support, including – at the government’s request – producing a submission setting out the economic impact across the whole of racing, including what will be lost by racing without the public through the winter.

“Moreover we are continuing to press the case for urgent reform of the Levy, which would help racing to become more self-sufficient and reduce the need for government spending on the sport, the likes of which we are seeing in other racing nations at present.

“British racing is rightly admired around the world but without progress in this key area, we risk becoming uncompetitive with our international colleagues, which could have catastrophic and long-lasting implications for the future of our sport.”

In total, 1,366 fixtures have been provisionally scheduled for 2021 so far. In 2020 there were 1,481 fixtures programmed, plus a further 10 fixtures which had not yet been allocated to specific courses, making a total of 1,491.

This represented a reduction of 20 compared to 2019. Of these 1,491 fixtures, 233 were BHA fixtures. Decisions on how many BHA fixtures will be allocated in 2021 will be made in due course depending on wider factors.