The 2019 Fixture List for Irish racing has been officially released mid-week by Horse Racing Ireland.
The Fixtures for next year reflect the needs of racegoers and industry professionals, as well as an exhilarating schedule built to mark the opening of the redeveloped Curragh racecourse.
The additional festival days introduced in 2018 are retained for next year, and substantial changes have been made to the programme to ease the workload of stable staff and costs to trainers. The fixture list features increased blank Sundays during the demanding summer months of the year, and earlier race times to meet concerns.
The opening of the newly redeveloped Curragh is strongly reflected in the 2019 fixture list with a restored full fixture allocation of 19 race meetings in a much changed configuration. The Curragh season starts on Saturday April 13, with a three-day Guineas Spring Festival from Friday May 24 to Sunday May 26 with a Group 1 race on each day.
The Irish Derby festival moves to a Thursday-to-Saturday schedule in late June, with the Irish Derby now providing the climax on the Saturday. The racecourse’s four traditional August meetings will all move to Friday evenings.
Cognisant of the pressure in the industry around staffing, the number of completely blank Sundays in the summer months has been increased to five (from three) while there will also be five other Sundays during the Flat turf season with no Flat racing scheduled. There will be an earlier finishing time of no later than 8.45pm for 10 months of the year, with an 8.30pm last race time at Dundalk in the first two months of the year.
The two built-in breaks for National Hunt jockeys have been retained with the late June-early July break extended from 9 to 12 days.
Principal features of the 2019 fixture list are:
- The Curragh will stage 19 fixtures including an extended three-day Spring Festival in May, a Thursday-Saturday Irish Derby festival and four Friday evening fixtures in August.
- There will be five completely blank Sundays during the summer months.
- The main break for NH jockeys is extended to 12 days (from 9), with the second break of 8 days (for senior riders) retained
- The Flat turf season will continue to commence and conclude at Naas with high quality Sunday fixtures on March 24 and November 3 respectively.
- There will be 15 extra Flat races in the April-June period
- Total fixtures for 2019 are 361, compared to 363 in 2018, with a further two summer fixtures to be allocated to Dundalk pending clarification over plans to replace the all-weather surface.
Announcing the 2019 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI, insisted “The 2019 fixture list has been developed with the needs of both the customer and those working in the industry in mind. 2018 enhancements such as extra festival dates at Bellewstown, Killarney and Galway, and the newly inaugurated Dublin Racing Festival have been retained, while an exciting new fixture list for the Curragh will coincide with the opening of the redeveloped racecourse. Consideration has also been taken of the needs of the industry’s workforce with the introduction of extra blank Sundays and earlier finishing times where possible. 2019 will be an exciting year for Irish racing and the publication of the fixture list today certainly whets the appetite.”
You can download the fixture list pdf by clicking here