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10 years of commercial growth leads to record prize money contributions

Press Release 25th April 2019

The Jockey Club, which stages some of Britain's most popular events including The Cheltenham Festival, the Randox Health Grand National Festival and The Investec Derby Festival, today announced its latest set of full-year financial results. These report a 10th consecutive year of commercial growth, which enabled The Jockey Club to make a new record contribution to prize money in British horseracing – the nation’s second-biggest spectator sport.

The Jockey Club’s 2018 annual results show that British Racing’s largest commercial group was able to grow its revenues by 6.7% year-on-year to a record £214.6 million (2017: £201.1 million and 5.2% growth). This represents turnover growth of 68.2% in a decade when The Jockey Club has focused on creating value for British Racing through its commercial operations (2009: £127.6 million), driven by revenue streams including general admissions, media, hospitality, commercial partnerships, events, training facilities and breeding services.

This allowed the group, which is governed by Royal Charter to act in the best long-term interests of British Racing and so reinvests all profits into the sport, to contribute a record £27.1 million into prize money in 2018 alone – an increase of £4.2 million or 18.3% year-on-year (2017: £22.9 million) and more than double the contribution it made 10 years ago (116.8% increase or £14.6 million more than 2009: £12.5 million). The Jockey Club ensured prize money increases were spread across all levels of race classes, including at grassroots-level where race values were increased by more than a third (34%) in 2018.

Prize money provides an important return for racehorse owners and is vital to the livelihoods of the sport’s participants. Record total prize money of £53.2 million was distributed at the 339 racing fixtures staged at Jockey Club Racecourses in 2018, up by 16.4% year-on-year (2017: £45.7 million). Average prize money per fixture of £157,000 in 2018 was also a record, up by 18% year-on-year (2017: £133,000) and 35.3% more per raceday than 10 years ago (2009: £116,000).

In 2018, The Jockey Club returned Group operating profit before prize money of £48.1 million, up by 7.4% year-on-year (2017: £44.8 million). After increasing its contribution to prize money by a record £4.2 million last year along with investments in facilities, operations and the wider sport, the Group generated operating profits of £21 million (2017: £21.9 million) and net profits of just £4.5 million (2017: £9.1 million).

Simon Bazalgette, who has been The Jockey Club’s Group Chief Executive over this 10-year period, said:

“We have a really clear purpose that’s about supporting the best long-term interests of British Racing. That means delivering great experiences for millions of people to enjoy through our racecourse venues, training grounds and The National Stud, and it means doing everything we can along the way to create value to reinvest back into our sport.

“Since 2009 we have grown our commercial revenues consistently and that’s been vital to allowing us to more than double our contribution into British Racing’s prize money, while also investing significantly in improving facilities for customers and participants across our venues, and into initiatives like free food and drink for racing staff. Our people and management teams should take great credit for their hard work.

“Contributing to the overall stewardship of our sport is also important, which we see as a true joint venture between racecourses, participants and British Racing’s governing body, and supported by fantastic partners such as ITV and the brands we’ve been able to welcome into the sport.

“There’s a lot of positive progress the sport rightly can be proud of, but our next set of results will include the first year of the impact of the changes in the gambling sector and we need to be realistic that we’re now into a time of financial challenge for British Racing.

“If the sport as a whole collaborates, innovates and diversifies, we can come out of the other side in good shape. At our core we have a lot of resilience and we need to keep up the good work going on in growing our fan base and not lose sight of the huge role the British public has played in making us Britain’s second biggest spectator sport. What we can guarantee in uncertain times is that The Jockey Club will do everything in our power to support the sport along the way.”

About The Jockey Club

The Jockey Club is established as one of the UK’s leading leisure companies, welcoming more than four million people at its venues each year. In 2018 it welcomed 1.8 million racegoers to its 339 racing fixtures nationwide and more than two million people to the thousands of events it stages at its 15 racecourse venues outside the racing calendar.

The group also operates racehorse training centres at Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs, The National Stud, and has its own charity to support racing’s people, Racing Welfare. Its ventures include Jockey Club Live, which stages ‘racing plus music’ events; Jockey Club Catering, its highly successful catering joint venture with Compass Group; and Jockey Club Services, which provides a range of business services to other UK sports organisations; as well as being a major partner in Racecourse Media Group, which manages all media and data for the The Jockey Club and other partner racecourses.

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