Anyone keen to see a completed version of British racing's next fixture list could once again have to wait until November after it became apparent that the BHA is treating the document as "a key bargaining chip" in the sport's levy negotiations with bookmakers.
The Racing Post has seen the provisional 2013 fixture list, the final version on which will contain a reduced gap of three weeks between the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, another October date at Ascot for British Champions Day and a likely new Saturday slot for the Coral Welsh National.
The latest draft version is made up of 1,423 meetings, comprising 1,330 pencilled-in fixtures and 93 gaps to be filled on incomplete days, a figure down by 33 on the final 2012 tally.
However, that number is only a starting point for discussions, given that the BHA, with levy talks in mind, is understood to be keen initially to propose fewer fixtures than bookmakers would ideally want.
That approach, which will inevitably frustrate the bookmaking industry, will also be met with mixed feelings by some tracks and also racing charities such as the Injured Jockeys' Fund, which last year was forced to delay publishing its revenue-raising calendars and diaries when the 2012 list was not unveiled until November 15.
BHA chief executive Paul Bittar subsequently created a fixtures planning group with the remit to find a more structured approach to the delivery of the 2013 list, but while one aim has been to make the list deliverable by mid-September, the BHA is prepared to push that date back by up to two months if doing so strengthens its hand in the annual negotiations with bookmakers over the levy.
A BHA source on Sunday predicted that racing's governing body "would not expect there to be a significant difference" in the number of meetings scheduled for 2013, against 2012.
However, one difference will be in the gap between Cheltenham and Aintree, which was 27 days this year but is due to revert to 20 in 2013, when British Champions Day has been pencilled in for Saturday, October 19.
The jumps season will continue to have two breaks, one in August of 12 days, two more than this year, and the other in September of ten, the same as this year, while Good Friday will again be racing free.
The transfer of the sport's biggest meetings from the BBC to Channel 4 has caused little disruption, but Chepstow admitted it may have to move the Welsh National from its provisional 2013 position on Friday, December 27, in order to maintain terrestrial coverage.
Northern Racing spokesman Jim Allen said: "Channel 4 has said it would like us to race on the Saturday, the day after we are currently scheduled to be on.
"With our owner having recently purchased Arena, we could swap fixtures with Lingfield. Whatever happens, we'll race on the day that gets us TV coverage."
In a further change to 2012, Haydock will move its John of Gaunt Stakes card from Derby day to the following Saturday, which this year was devoid of Group and Listed races but will in 2013 be highlighted by a card that has two Group 3s and a pair of Listed races. The change will also ensure the meeting has a home on Channel 4.
When informed of the plans, Ladbrokes' David Williams said: "The Betting Patterns Working Group hasn't yet formally sat down to discuss 2013, nor has the BHA review into the fixture list process been completed.
"Nonetheless, the fact remains that fewer fixtures in the programme will ultimately result in a diminished return to racing's pockets.
"We are confident that when all parties convene we can secure a programme that has the flexibility and full content to satisfy our customers' expectations."