Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK's largest racecourse group1
whose 15 courses include those at Aintree, Cheltenham Epsom Downs and Newmarket, will stage a quarter of British racing's fixtures next year (24.9%), according to the sport's 2014 Fixture List published today by the British Horseracing Authority.
The Jockey Club's racecourse arm, whose profits go back into British racing, is scheduled to host 364 racedays nationwide in 20142
. This is a marginal increase on the 361 fixtures the group had programmed in 20132
within a British racing calendar that in 2014 remains the same size as this year, with 1,464 scheduled fixtures.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director, Jockey Club Racecourses
"We're delighted once again to stage a very strong race programme in the coming year at our 15 courses nationwide, offering something for every type of racegoer and participant alike through our unique blend of Flat, Jumps and All-Weather fixtures. Jockey Club Racecourses welcomes a third of British racing's attendances and, within our fixture calendar, we stage 4 of the 5 Classics of the Turf season in Britain, run 84% of Grade 1 races in the UK and host the most Group races of anywhere in the UK in Newmarket, as well as supporting at all levels of our sport.
"Once the Levy Board confirms its funding arrangements for 2014 we will finalise our planned prize money contribution from our own resources for next year. We are already the largest commercial contributors to prize money in British racing, but at this stage I can say next year we will beat the record contribution in excess of £18m we're making for the good of our sport in 2013."
Richard Norris, Group Racing Director, Jockey Club Racecourses,
"I'm very happy with the balance of our marginally expanded fixture list for next year. In 2014 The Jockey Club will continue to invest in top quality racing vital to the long-term health of our sport in tandem with providing opportunities to reward horsemen at all levels of our sport, all around the country. This commitment is reflected in the Premier-tier Prize Money Agreement our racecourses have with The Horsemen’s Group, which also measures our
"The growth in our fixture portfolio for 2014 reflects a fixture process that is just beginning to use racecourses' prize money investment levels as one of the key performance measures. We consider such a pro-competitive system based on investment as a fair, sustainable and prosperous one for British racing, where those who support the sport are incentivised to continue to do so, again and again."
Prize money commitments
With the advent of Prize Money Agreements introduced by The Horsemen's Group from 1st January 2014, The Jockey Club's racecourses have attained the highest 'Premier' status as an indication of the Group's unparalleled contribution to prize money. In 2013, Jockey Club Racecourses is injecting more than £18m from its own resources into prize money - a record sum - an increase from its previous £16.5m record in 2012.
Following the publication of the 2014 Fixture List and once the Horserace Betting Levy Board confirms funding arrangements for next year, The Jockey Club will complete its budget planning process and announce its 2014 planned prize money contribution, which will be an increase on 2013.
2014 Fixture List highlights for Jockey Club Racecourses
Sandown Park: Jumps season finale
Sandown Park will officially bring the curtain down on the 2014 National Hunt season with a mouthwatering all-Jumps card on Saturday 26 April, featuring the bet365 Gold Cup and the bet365 Celebration Chase, recently upgraded to Grade 1 status. As part of The Jockey Club's contribution to creating a more clearly-defined climax to the Jumps season, Sandown Park will be the only British racecourse to stage Jumps racing that day, with Market Rasen moving off to be replaced by Flat racing at Haydock Park. The fixture will be followed by a four-day break for professional Jump jockeys.
With the Saturday of the bet365-sponsored fixture previously run as a mixed card, its all-Flat Friday will be boosted by combining the best of the Flat races previously staged across the two days of the meeting, including the Group
2 bet365 Mile, the Group 3 bet365 Classic Trial and the Group 3 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes. Prize money for the meeting will increase significantly.
Newmarket: Group racing and British Champions Weekend
Dubai Future Champions Day, which will feature three of the five Group 1 races for two-year-olds staged in Britain in
2014 – the world's highest rated Group 1 two-year-old race, The Dubai Dewhurst Stakes; The Vision.ae Middle Park Stakes; and The Dubai Fillies' Mile – will move six days later to a new fixture slot on the Friday immediately before
QIPCO British Champions Day to create a £4.5m British Champions Weekend, which will feature no less than six Group 1 races in two days.
Newmarket Racecourses will also retain its fixture on the preceding Saturday and the £250,000 Betfred Cesarewitch will be the highlight of a £450,000+ card. Following the transfer to Newmarket's Dubai Future Champions Day from Ascot of the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes and the upgrading of the now Group 3 Abernant Stakes (Craven Meeting), Newmarket Racecourses will now stage more Group races than any other racecourse in
Britain. It is also worth noting that 39 fixtures will be staged on the Rowley Mile and July Course in 2014 and within Jockey Club Racecourses portfolio of racecourses only Kempton Park (96) will stage more.
Huntingdon: Peterborough Chase
Huntingdon Racecourse's Grade 2 Peterborough Chase, will be staged on a Sunday for the first time from 2014, and a week earlier on 7th December 2014, as part of The Jockey Club supporting an industry move to boost Sunday racing where viable. Prize money for the card will exceed of £100,000.
Kempton Park: British All-Weather Championships
All 330 All-Weather races staged at Kempton Park between 30th October 2013 and 10th April 2014 will count towards the new British All-Weather Championships, including three 'Win and You're In' qualifiers for the championship finals day staged at Arena Racing Company's Lingfield Park Racecourse. Across the course of 2013, Kempton Park's total prize money fund for All-Weather racing is already a very substantial £3.4m, which Jockey Club
Racecourses plans to increase further in 2014 in tandem with further upgrades to its All-Weather programme.
Aintree and Cheltenham: Festivals gap
In 2014, the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and the Crabbie's Grand National Festival will be three weeks.
The full 2014 fixture list can be viewed here
1 By turnover (2012: £142.1m), courses (15), attendances (2012: 1.8m), total prize money (2012: £35.3m), contribution to prize money (2012: £16.5m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races)
2 Prior to any abandonments