Horse racing: Kempton to start the Flat

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Racing fixtures for next year are virtually unchanged after this year's major alterations, with just eight extra regional meetings added to the list.

A total of 1,349 meetings will be held in 2005 in a programme of consolidation. The British Horseracing Board publish the new list today.

There will be 46 Sunday racedays next year, one down on 2004 as Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, with the number of Sunday meetings throughout the year reduced by three as a consequence to 129. Racing will take place on 44 consecutive Sundays from 6 February to 4 December.

For the first time since 1989, the Flat turf season will begin at Kempton Park on Easter Saturday, which falls early in 2005, on 26 March. Doncaster's Lincoln meeting, which is the traditional curtain-raiser, will start the following Thursday.