- On 10th January 2017, The Jockey Club unveiled its ambition to invest a record sum into British Racing over the next decade – a nationwide programme of investment totalling more than £500 million, designed to benefit our sport and all who participate in and enjoy it.
This would represent the largest contribution any organisation has ever made to British Racing over a ten-year period. It will allow us to invest in our facilities, tracks and training grounds all around the country, contribute record amounts to prize money funding, and do more to support good causes in our sport. In the past, The Jockey Club has relied on raising relatively modest amounts of business debt in addition to its commercial profits, in order to reinvest large amounts of money into British Racing. However, this injection of £500m into the sport, has the potential to deliver a step-change in the quality of British Horseracing over the next decade.
A large part of this sum will come from running our diverse range of operations effectively, while the remainder is conditional on us raising in excess of £100 million from the future redevelopment of our estate at Kempton Park. All monies over this amount will also be reinvested back into the sport.
Before the end of 2016, the local authority to Kempton Park – Spelthorne Borough Council – issued a ‘Call for Sites’ within the borough to put themselves forward to help to address unmet local housing needs. The local authority also launched a Green Belt Review.
After careful review, The Jockey Club has submitted its estate at Kempton Park for consideration for future redevelopment due to the once-in-a-generation opportunity this presents to generate significant capital to reinvest back into supporting British Racing nationwide, as per its Royal Charter commitments. Even if successful, this is a process expected to take several years and in the meantime normal operations will continue.
If future development is approved, it is likely to be at least 2021 – at the earliest – before there are any changes to racing operations. If it is not approved, then Kempton Park will continue as a racecourse venue.
The Jockey Club’s Board of Stewards has given a lot of thought to these decisions and has not taken them lightly. However, they are confident that the package we announced, will see British Racing’s interests best served in the long-term, in line with our Royal Charter commitments.
What British Racing stands to gain
- The opportunity to deliver a step-change improvement for the long-term future of British Racing. Capital from the sale of Kempton Park would supercharge an investment programme of more than £500 million into the sport (see following points for a breakdown.)
- The redevelopment of Kempton Park alone would generate in excess of £100 million for the Jockey Club to invest straight back into British Racing. This is a minimum figure, and a conservative estimate – we expect the final number to be significantly higher and this depends on a number of factors including how much land is used for housing. Every penny of this will be reinvested in the sport.
- Jockey Club Racecourses will also contribute in excess of £250 million to prize money over the next decade, which is a record amount and is, at the very least, £88 million more than over the last decade. At least half of this sum (£125 million) will be invested in prize money for National Hunt racing.
- The Jockey Club will invest part of the sum it raises from Kempton into Sandown Park. The racecourse will be transformed into London’s ‘super-track’ – just 25 minutes from Waterloo by train – featuring world-class facilities for racegoers and horsemen. Sandown Park will cater to racing fans across London and the South East. With the transfer of the King George VI Chase (subject to all necessary approvals), Sandown will appeal to an enormous catchment area who will benefit from this spectacular viewing course. Our investment will include a major improvement to the track itself and use of the very latest technologies in the process. The Jockey Club will be able to focus its funds on Sandown Park in the years ahead, rather than diluting this pot between both Sandown and Kempton.
- The Jockey Club will create a new all-weather course, purpose-built to ensure the best possible experience for horsemen. This will likely be created in Newmarket, offering the maximum convenience for the most number of horses that are trained at the Home of Racing. All-weather racing is not a major spectator sport. This new track will offer millions of pounds in prize money and ensures horsemen receive the opportunities to run currently provided at Kempton.
- This major investment plan will inject funds into The Jockey Club’s racecourses across UK. Courses in the North, South, East and West will benefit greatly from increased prize money, improved facilities and Jumps fixtures moved from Kempton Park. At least £250 million will be invested nationwide and this will include investments at The Jockey Club’s Lambourn and Epsom training centres.
- The Jockey Club will be able to fund major innovations in British Racing. This can include the latest data analytics technology, enabling us to identify and engage with a new generation of potential racing fans.
- A part of these funds will be invested in pool betting projects for British Racing, such as our current license with Betfred, and other future opportunities to benefit our sport.
- The Jockey Club will have the freedom and funds to make one-off investments in British Racing as and when opportunities arise to support the long-term interests of the sport. For example, in the last 15 years, The Jockey Club has acquired The National Stud, Exeter Racecourse, Carlisle Racecourse and Lambourn Training Grounds, and financed major projects such as the £45 million transformation of facilities at Cheltenham.
- Every aspect of Kempton Park’s role in the sport would be protected – its Jumps programme would be moved to courses across the country, its all-weather programme will be moved to the new track that sees British Racing maintain its total number of racecourses, and Surrey’s racing community will continue to be well-served by several nearby racecourse, including a transformed Sandown Park.