The Jockey Club, which operates some of the UK’s leading racecourses and reinvests all profits back into British racing, is spending more than £31 million in 2014 on its facilities aimed at further enhancing the experience on offer to racegoers and horsemen, and to maintain top quality racing surfaces at its 15 courses.
More than £7 million is going into projects including amenities for racegoers, Owners & Trainers facilities and maintenance works, over-and-above an outlay of more than £24 million this year on its flagship development project at Cheltenham Racecourse. In the last three years alone, more than £5 million has been spent at Jockey Club Racecourses just on track surface projects, drainage and maintenance.
The Jockey Club's 2014 commitment follows a programme of £150 million of investment across its racecourse estate over the previous 10 years. That rises to £175 million when including improvements at its world-class training public grounds at Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs, and The National Stud in Newmarket.
Over the same 10 year period, The Jockey Club has contributed nearly £140 million to prize money from its available resources. After setting another industry record in 2013, the group's 2014 prize money contribution will exceed £19 million, up by more than £8.5 million or more than double since 2004.
2014 investment projects – some completed and others underway – include: Owners & Trainers facilities at Carlisle, Exeter, Kempton Park, Nottingham and Wincanton; the Boulevard project for racegoers at the Rowley Mile; replacing the Family enclosure grandstand at Market Rasen with improved facilities; improved racegoer facilities at Sandown Park; and upgrading hospitality facilities at Aintree, Haydock Park and the Rowley Mile; in addition high standard maintenance of facilities and track surfaces and other projects at all 15 of The Jockey Club’s racecourses.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses
“We’ve invested £150 million in the past 10 years in our racecourse facilities, but every year we need to build on the experience we offer the racegoing public and horsemen, while also being able to make industry-leading contributions to prize money.
“Total prize money at our 15 courses is set to top £42 million this year for the first time and we're contributing by far the largest part of that from our own resources – more than £19 million, which will be a record in itself.
“We are now hoping for an outcome from the 2015 Fixture allocation process that still allows us the commercial potential to contribute as much as we want to next year. If we have it, time and again we have proven we will put it back into our sport.
“I'm very proud that our people have worked really hard through a tough economy to allow us to support the sport; they deserve much recognition for their efforts.”
The Jockey Club's development project at Cheltenham will cost a total of £45 million upon completion ahead of The Festival in March 2016. This means £125 million will have been invested in facilities at the Home of Jumps racing in just over 30 years, including £65 million in just over 10 years.
Throughout the development period, racing continues at Cheltenham as normal. For the start of the course's 2014/15 season on 17th October 2014, the first stages of development will be completed, including two new bars situated above the parade ring and a newly-positioned horsewalk with a bridge to aid crowd movement around the course.
In 2013, Jockey Club Racecourses:
- Offered 70 percent more prize money on average than the rest of the industry
- Contributed 78 percent more prize money per fixture on average than the rest of the industry
- Offered 36 percent of total prize money, from 25 percent of the British racing Fixture List
- Contributed 38 percent of all racecourses' contribution to prize money, from 25 percent of the British racing Fixture List
- Was responsible for 68 percent (£1.69m) of the total increase in racecourses' contribution to prize money (£2.49m)