Fixtures Announced for Ireland 2016
The 2016 Fixture List for Irish racing has been released today (Tuesday, 22nd September 2015) by Horse Racing Ireland.
The total number of fixtures remains unchanged at 355. Along with the 335 permanent fixtures and the 14 extra Dundalk Friday evening meetings introduced in 2011, there will be a further six additional race meetings allocated on a one-year-only basis to provide opportunities at times when there is the greatest demand from the horse population.
The six additional fixtures for 2016 are:
April 5th Fairyhouse (NH)
April 15th Ballinrobe (NH)
May 28th Navan (Flat)*
September 21st Naas (Flat)
October 10th Curragh (Flat)
October 18th Gowran Park (Flat)
*A Tramore fixture in early June has been converted from Flat to National Hunt, meaning that the additional fixtures were evenly allocated between the two codes.
The key points in relation to the 2016 Fixture List are as follows:
The late-March location of Easter places Fairyhouse relatively close (a nine-day gap) to the Cheltenham Festival, although it means a break of two weeks to Aintree and more than four weeks to the Punchestown Festival.
Due to the location of Easter, Cork will stage their traditional student day on the Monday of Cheltenham week (March 14th) on a one-off basis. Galway has moved the third day of their September meeting into October (Tuesday 11th) to create a more suitable date for their student day, a change which should also be beneficial from a horse population perspective.
The Flat ‘summer’ season will start slightly earlier than normal at the Curragh on Sunday 20th March.
At least one good quality Flat meeting will be staged each weekend during the summer flat season (except pre-Galway) – in particular, Naas have moved two fixtures into Sundays, one in late May from the June Bank Holiday weekend to ensure a sufficient gap before Royal Ascot for a meeting which stages several important trial races, and the other in June (from a Wednesday evening slot).
Laytown will clash with the Tuesday of the Listowel Festival – this is unavoidable due to the need to work around appropriate tidal timings.
The normal two-day end of season meeting at Leopardstown in late October has been split up to provide Flat racing on successive Sundays (23rd and 30th October).
Longines Irish Champions Weekend will be run at Leopardstown on Saturday 10th September and the Curragh on Sunday 11th September.
Announcing the 2016 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to retain the same overall number of fixtures for 2016 including, as was the case this year, six additional meetings at times of the season which should be beneficial from a horse population perspective. Irish racing still remains very competitive, with our average field size for the year to date at 10.6 runners per race and a pleasing increase on the Flat for entries, declarations and individual runners.”
“Easter is located early in the calendar next year which affects quite a few fixtures, but it means that although the Fairyhouse Easter Festival comes quite soon after Cheltenham there will be a decent break of two weeks to the Aintree Festival and four weeks to the Punchestown National Hunt Festival.”
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