Non-standard race times will be introduced on a permanent basis in Britain and Ireland from the start of next month.
The 2.22 at Warwick and the 3.13 at Fairyhouse may therefore be among the events set to return this autumn.
The British Horseracing Authority and Horse Racing Ireland will introduce the measure on October 1, following a successful trial in February, with the aim of providing more flexibility during busy periods and avoiding clashes and delayed races.
Race times for events covered by ITV will remain standardised in traditional five-minute slots whenever possible, with the authorities also believing the move will offer increased clarity because it should minimise the need for on-the-day changes.
Richard Wayman, chief operating officer of the BHA, said: “The trial of non-standard times in February resulted in a reduced number of race clashes and delays on busy afternoons, which was well-received by those watching, broadcasting and betting on the sport.
“This also had a positive impact on racing’s finances – and following further collaboration with our colleagues in Ireland and discussions with the betting industry, we believe bringing in non-standard times on a permanent basis would continue to deliver considerable benefits to our customers.
“We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in attempting to ensure that races go off on time – and there will, of course, still be occasions when unavoidable clashes and delays occur.
“However, this decision will help to minimise the frequency of such occurrences and ultimately allow us to schedule races in the best possible way for followers of the sport.”
Jason Morris, HRI’s director of racing, added: “HRI works closely, through SIS, with the BHA and Racing TV to optimise race times between the two countries. The use of non-standard race times, when trialled earlier in the year, proved effective in terms of reducing race clashes and enhancing broadcast coverage, improving the viewing experience for our customers.
“We have therefore agreed to their continuing utilisation from the start of October. As with the trial period, at the request of Irish racecourses, the first race in Ireland will retain a standard time to aid their promotional efforts.”
Source : Sky Sports