RACING'S fixture list will be unrecognisable in 2024 after a huge shake-up by the British Horseracing Authority.
The BHA board unanimously approved a number of big changes, including a new 'premier' racing tier.
There will also be restricted action during the peak window of 2-4pm on a Saturday, with just three meetings run during this time span.
There will also be a trial of six floodlit race meetings on Sunday nights.
Several "core principles" established as part of British racing's cross industry strategy are at the heart of the major reforms, with the aim to grow "the sport's reach, appeal to new fanbases and better engage existing customers".
The BHA say the changes represent the "vital first step in longer-term improvements to the structure, funding and promotion of the racing product".
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The changes will come into force next year and racing chiefs will assess their impact over a two-year period.
The new 'premier' tier will boast higher prize-money and focus on high quality racing, during the key two-hour "shop window" on a Saturday, featuring two premier cards and one other meeting.
That means that lesser meetings on a Saturday afternoon – for example this weekend at Chester and Cartmel – would either have to start early in the morning or after 4pm to avoid a clash.
Smaller tracks have voiced their concerns about the plans, with fears they will have a huge impact on racecourse attendances, and there have been noises about potential legal action.
The BHA is also keen to boost the "core racing" product, which involves moving fixtures to later in the day and "making the most of our core fixtures during major festivals and supporting summer jumping".
A total of 300 jumps races – equating to around 20 meetings – will also be removed across the year, with the summer jumping break increased from 12 to 19 days.
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There will be no reduction in Flat races, but around 200 races will be moved into the autumn and early winter period from other points of the year.
Joe Saumarez Smith, chair of the BHA, said: "The BHA board endorsed and approved these recommendations because it was clear to us that they were necessary and in the best interests of the sport.
"The information that was presented by the sport's commercial committee included detailed consideration of both the upside and downside of all proposals. This allowed the board to make its decisions based on the complete picture.
"It is inevitable that not all parties agree with all proposals. But it was for this reason that the new governance structure was agreed by the industry, so that difficult decisions can be made and there can be progress in the best interests of the whole sport.
"The changes will be tested over an initial two-year period and will be closely evaluated to see how well they work, with the aim of permanently adopting the things that have been a success.
"I would like to thank the commercial committee, and everyone who has been involved in this process, for their work to date. It has been a truly collaborative, cross-industry effort."
Julie Harrington, chief executive of the BHA, added: "When the industry's leaders came together in autumn last year, we agreed unanimously that innovation in the way the sport is presented is an absolute necessity.
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"The core principles approved by the BHA Board were identified as the most time sensitive area and the foundation of our wider approach.
"There is still a huge amount to do as we seek to grow and future-proof British racing, but the development of a fixture list that seeks to attract new fans and grow the appeal of our sport to existing customers represents an important first step."
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