Jockey Club Racecourses to increase its prize money contribution by a record £4.2 million in 2018
By Community | December 19, 2017
The Jockey Club will contribute more towards British horseracing’s prize money than ever before by injecting an extra £4.2 million in 2018, it announced today. Its greatest ever increase will see British Racing’s largest commercial group put a record £27.1 million into prize money from its own resources next year (2017 budgeted: £22.9 million).
Significantly the figure, which is subject to abandonments, is spread throughout all levels of the sport, including grassroots level where prize money is increased by more than a third.
It also means the total amount of money on offer across the 15 Jockey Club racecourses in the UK is set to exceed £53 million, another new record and an increase of £8 million year-on-year.
As a result, total prize money at Jockey Club Racecourses’ fixtures in 2018 will be worth 77.9% more than the sums which were offered by courses outside the group in 2017.
Since 2010, The Jockey Club – which stages The Cheltenham Festival, The Randox Health Grand National and The Investec Derby – will have more than doubled its annual contribution to British Racing’s prize money from its own resources (2010: £13.0 million) on the back of its people working hard to drive the commercial growth required to afford this.
Governed by Royal Charter, The Jockey Club’s mission is to act for the long-term good of British Racing, which includes reinvesting all its profits back into the sport.
Prize money is vital to the livelihoods of trainers, stable staff and jockeys and provides an important return for the investment of racehorse owners. It is an essential incentive to encourage trainers and owners to enter horses into races, thereby producing and improving competitive racing.
Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “This is The Jockey Club’s largest ever commitment to prize money and hopefully that will translate into good news for racing fans through highly competitive racing at our courses.
“I’m really proud of our people, who’ve worked hard to achieve the commercial results we need to be able to offer this. Because we already put all of our money back into the sport, we can only increase our prize money contribution if we create the commercial returns to do so.
“Today’s announcement is not just about the best racing or focused on one or two racecourses, it’s all part of The Jockey Club’s commitment to support British Racing at all levels.”
In 2018 The Jockey Club is scheduled to stage 348 racing fixtures which will offer, on average, record total race values of £153,000 per fixture, up from a record £133,000 in 2017, a growth of 15% year-on-year. This compares to the average prize money per fixture of c£86,000 at fixtures run outside Jockey Club Racecourses in 2017.
Significant increases in contributions towards prize money in 2018 will also ensure:
· Every JCR fixture will offer at least £40,000 in prize money
· Every Sunday fixture run at JCR will offer at least £65,000 in prize money
· Every JCR fixture will include at least one race worth £10,000 or more, while 83% of the group’s fixtures will have at least two per fixture, up from 58% in 2017
· Every JCR ‘small course’ will have at least one fixture previously worth c£55,000 boosted to £80,000 or more from 2018, meaning that every JCR small course will stage at least four fixtures worth £80,000 or more next year (2017: 22 JCR small course fixtures worth £80,000 or more; 2018: 91% increase to 42 JCR small course fixtures at that value)
· Values for grassroots* races staged at JCR will increase by more than a third, compared to a year-on-year increase of 15% for race values across JCR
Gloucestershire-based Jumps trainer, Fergal O’Brien, who operates at all levels of the sport, praised The Jockey Club, saying: “I think what the Jockey Club have done over the last few years is fantastic.
“The money that is going back into racing is great for everyone and this new announcement will benefit all sections of owners and trainers. Racing at Jockey Club racecourses, big or small, is very worthwhile.”
Philip Freedman, Chairman of The Horsemen’s Group, which represents racehorse owners, trainers, stable staff, breeders and jockeys, said those participants would be delighted: “Horsemen are obviously delighted by the increase in The Jockey Club’s prize money contribution for 2018. Given the new media rights contracts are placing greater emphasis on field sizes the increases, particularly for grassroots racing, should ensure that these fixtures are attractive to Horsemen.
“The minimum guarantees at every fixture, and at enhanced levels on Sundays, should ensure that these fixtures are attractive not only to owners, but also to race goers and the betting public, to the benefit of all those whose livelihoods depend on the health of the sport.”