• Horse racing

BHA to take Good Friday applications

ESPN staff
September 5, 2013
No racing fixtures on Good Friday has been a tradition for centuries - could that be about to change? © PA Photos

The British Horseracing Authority has agreed to take applications from racecourses to stage meetings on Good Friday in 2014.

The tradition of an Easter break in the racing calendar has lasted for centuries, with Good Friday being one of the only fixture-free days of the year.

Arena Racing Company (ARC) - who owns three of the four all-weather courses in Britain - is planning a bumper investment into the winter's all-weather programme.

However, the plans stem on whether racing on the bank holiday, when ARC is looking to hold a £1 million championship meet to close the winter flat-racing season, will be granted by the BHA.

Musselbrugh is another racecourse interested in hosting a meet that day, although a final decision from the BHA is not expected until after the next board meeting at the end of September.

"If there are to be fixtures on Good Friday, the executive were clear to the board that the fixtures must remain fully in the control of BHA, and meet a number of minimum criteria to benefit both participants and the sport's customers," BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said.

"We are mindful of the historical sensitivities around this subject, but will seek to establish the net benefit to the sport of racing taking place on Good Friday, and move the debate to one based on the facts that are available. Good Friday is a significant leisure day, so we are keen to fully assess the opportunity for racing."

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