THE British Horseracing Authority has agreed to a fixture exchange between Thirsk and Wetherby Racecourses to prevent a clash with the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

Following the announcement that stage three of the cycling race will go directly through Thirsk on Saturday, May 5, the horseracing fixture there that day will instead take place down at Wetherby.

In return, the Flat raceday at Wetherby scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, will now be run at Thirsk.

The May 5 programme at Wetherby remains fully sponsored by Totepool and the conditions of the feature race, the Totepool Hunt Cup, a Class 2 handicap over a mile, will be unaffected.

The 2018 renewal of the Totepool Hunt Cup will also see a significant increase in prize money, with the total value of the contest increasing from last year's £25,000 to £40,000. The best recent winner of the Totepool Hunt Cup was Godolphin's Farhh in 2012, who went on to win to G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2013.

Thirsk Racecourse general manager and clerk of the course James Sanderson said: "The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire route was announced in December and, to our dismay, we immediately spotted that the peloton would be coming directly through Thirsk town centre on an already busy Saturday raceday, thus necessitating the closure of several key roads through peak arrival time to the racecourse.

"The Tour de Yorkshire is a very successful regional event, attended by thousands. It is a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart that was staged in Yorkshire.

"While we obviously wish the organisers every success, it is extremely frustrating they should wait until December 2017 to finalise and announce their route, which would have clashed horrendously with our planned raceday.

"Thanks to some much-appreciated help from the Wetherby Racecourse team and the BHA, we have now agreed to transfer the scheduled Thirsk fixture to Wetherby, where it can be accommodated on Yorkshire's most recently created Flat track, which has already proved to be a big hit with horsemen over the past three years.

"The important thing is the Saturday fixture can take place at Wetherby without being disrupted by the Tour de Yorkshire.

"In turn, the Flat fixture originally scheduled at Wetherby on Tuesday, May 8 will happen at Thirsk."

Racegoers who have already booked tickets for either fixture can switch bookings or be refunded. Annual badge holders at each racecourse will be able to attend both fixtures.