2019 will be a year of new concepts and propositions for the sport of horse racing, as its stakeholders seek fresh ideas to re-engage with the wider general public.
This December, further foundations for ‘Championship Horse Racing’ (CHR) were announced, a new proposition seeking to deliver racing’s first league competition featuring high profile teams competing to be champions of ‘The Series’.
CHR is led by Jeremy Wray (CEO), the former chairman of Swindon Town FC who puts forth the ambitious mandate that CHR will ‘ providing a simple, accessible format that’s gripping, thrilling and unmissable’.
“No, it’s not a joke. We want CHR to demystify horse racing, starting with its identity crisis. We must ensure that even the casual viewer knows what is happening the moment they start watching.” Wray states
Planning to launch next summer (July-September period), CHR aims to feature twelve branded teams, similar to F1 racing, with squads of 30 studs and four riders, competing in a £ multi-million league format.
Setting a high target, Wray and CHR seek to stage 48 syndicated races within the UK and Ireland, which will all feature a minimum of £100,000 in prize money.
Heading into 2019, CHR announced its most important update, confirming that eight UK/IRE racecourses have committed to staging ‘The Series’. The proposed courses are: Ayr, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Leopardstown, Newbury, Newmarket July Course and Sandown Park.
Securing the commitment of the Jockey Club, which will stage four of the eight fixtures, Wray states that CHR had achieved its first milestone:
“We’re thrilled that The Series is due to take place at such prestigious courses and that it will debut in three countries. They are great locations and have superb facilities for summer evening racing that promises fans something they’ve never experienced before. Fans will be encouraged to engage with the teams and our aim is to help tell the stories about the tens of thousands of people involved in the sport.”
Despite gaining its racecourse commitment, CHR is still in its concept stage, as its 2019 schedule has to be approved by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), who stated to racing news sources that it was reviewing CHR fixture proposals and that it was in open dialogue with organisers’.