The Jockey Club raises prize money by a record £4.2 million

19th December 2017

Carlisle Racecourse is one of 15 tracks with boosted prize money

Carlisle Racecourse is one of 15 tracks with boosted prize money

Key points:
  • JCR to offer £8 million increase in race values in 2018 and reveals list of major financial commitments to horsemen to support all levels of British Racing
  • No fixture will offer less than £40,000, every Sunday fixture will offer at least £65,000 and every fixture will include at least one race worth £10,000 or more
  • Grassroots race values increased by a third and each JCR small course will stage at least four fixtures worth £80,000 or more

The Jockey Club will increase its prize money contribution by a record £4.2 million in 2018, it announced today. This will see Jockey Club Racecourses contribute a record £27.1 million to prize money from its own resources next year (2017 budgeted: £22.9 million), subject to abandonments, spread across all levels of the sport.

Total race values offered across its 15 UK racecourses are set to exceed £53 million – a new record – an increase of £8 million year-on-year. These race values will include circa £1.6 million on offer from the new industry appearance money scheme, which Jockey Club Racecourses has unlocked in every available case through increasing its own investment where necessary.

Since 2010, The Jockey Club 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 commercial growth 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.

The Jockey Club’s 348 racing fixtures scheduled for 2018 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. Average total race values across The Jockey Club’s Jump racing fixtures will be £160,000 per fixture (2017 budget: £140,000) and £147,000 per fixture (2017 budget: £126,000) across its Flat racing fixtures, in line with the make-up of its racing programme.

Underneath these headline figures, from 2018:

· Every JCR fixture will offer at least £40,000 in total race values

· Every Sunday fixture run at JCR will offer at least £65,000 in total race values

· 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)

· Despite the significant reduction of the industry’s Divided Race Fund, Jockey Club Racecourses will continue to invest to divide all races that reach the required number of declarations and are eligible to divide, creating a second and equal prize money opportunity and helping to reduce eliminations

The Jockey Club previously announced its commitment to supporting all levels of British Racing through prize money, including the grassroots tiers of the sport, which was reflected in its 2017 prize money investments. In 2018, The Jockey Club will increase this support for the grassroots* of racing, increasing race values by more than a third at Class 3-5 Jumps races and Class 4-6 Flat races. This compares to the year-on-year increase of 15% in average race values across Jockey Club Racecourses. Significant increases at The Jockey Club’s ‘large courses’ also form part of this 2018 prize money commitment, which will be announced individually as normal.

Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“This is The Jockey Club's largest ever commitment to horsemen and we really hope that will also translate into good news for racing fans alike.

“I’m very proud of our people who have 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.

“Some people might think that our prize money is all about the highest race classes or at one or two racecourses, but these figures demonstrate another step forward in our commitment to supporting British Racing at all levels.”

Philip Freedman, Chairman of The Horsemen’s Group, which represents racehorse owners, trainers, stable staff, breeders and jockeys, said:

“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 grass roots 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.”

Gloucestershire-based Jumps trainer, Fergal O’Brien, who operates at all levels of the sport, said:

“I think what The Jockey Club has 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.”

Notes to Editors

Jockey Club Racecourses consists of: Aintree, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs, Exeter, Haydock Park, Huntingdon, Kempton Park, Market Rasen, Newmarket July Course, Newmarket Rowley Mile, Nottingham, Sandown Park, Warwick and Wincanton.

‘Small courses’ refers to: Carlisle, Exeter, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton.
‘Large courses’ refers to: Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs, Haydock Park, Kempton Park, Newmarket July Course, Newmarket Rowley Mile and Sandown Park.

*The Jockey Club is using the industry determined definition of ‘grassroots’, as per British Racing’s new funding initiatives, defined as Class 3-5 Jump races and Class 4-6 Flat races.

All ‘race values’ are what will be offered. The industry Appearance Money Scheme reduces should fewer runners go to post, which may change values on occasion.

All figures are based on 2017 and 2018 budgets. Final ‘actual’ 2017 figures will be confirmed, audited and released as part of The Jockey Club’s Annual Review in April 2018.