Total prize money at The Jockey Club’s 15 racecourses will exceed £60 million for the first time in 2024, after British horseracing’s largest commercial operator increased its executive contribution.
The Jockey Club has also announced it will extend its existing commitment to share financial information with the Thoroughbred Group - which represents the industry’s owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and breeders – by providing greater transparency on everything from the organisation’s business performance to revenues and investment plans.
An overall prize money total of £60.1 million will be offered across the 334 fixtures due to be staged by The Jockey Club this year, with £31.8 million coming from executive contribution – the amount the organisation puts in from its own funds – which is up 66.5 per cent from the £19.1 million it reinvested into prize money 10 years ago.
The 2024 figures are an increase on the same numbers for 2023, which saw executive contribution projected at £31.1 million and total overall prize money of £59 million for the 342 fixtures scheduled to be staged last year.
The prize money figures are budgeted and subject to abandonments and potentially significant economic changes. The Jockey Club will confirm and announce values for specific races and fixtures in due course.
As well as prize money The Jockey Club has budgeted to spend £11.7 million over the next 12 months on upgrades to its racecourses, which includes investment into improving racing surfaces, equine facilities and welfare standards.
Nevin Truesdale, Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, explained: “Given the unprecedented financial headwinds the horseracing industry is currently facing, we are pleased to be able to announce today that The Jockey Club’s executive contribution to prize money will be increased to £31.8 million in 2024, taking our overall prize money past the £60 million mark for the first time.
“Our mission is to power racing’s future and to ensure that our sport thrives for generations to come. That would not be possible without our participants and all those whose jobs not only help British racing prosper but rely on the industry.
“So, while we continue to take important steps to improve our business efficiency in the face of significant and unprecedented economic challenges, there is also an ongoing focus on investing across our estate and in participants, which includes a commitment to prize money. This has led us to some very difficult decisions in our financial planning for 2024 and we are pleased to be able to deliver an increase in prize money investment in these very challenging circumstances.
“In addition to prize money The Jockey Club will continue to invest in many other areas of the sport, including equine welfare and improving the raceday experience for participants, owners and racegoers. We hope that by doing so, we will drive engagement, expand our fan base and increase attendances for the good of the sport.”
In the last two and a half years The Jockey Club has conducted 39 ‘transparency meetings’ with 120 industry individuals including participants, owners and a range of other stakeholders and organisations. These sessions – many of which were held with pre-eminent trainers – have explained business performance, prize money, media rights and investment plans.
The Jockey Club today announces it is extending its commitment to openness to provide more information to the Thoroughbred Group from 2024 onwards, including figures relating to individual racecourse media rights and other revenues and disclosing other factors which impact decisions on prize money and other investment plans.
Explaining the decision, Truesdale added: “It’s really important to us at The Jockey Club to continue to be transparent in sharing details of our business performance with industry participants and stakeholders.
“By agreeing to extend this commitment to provide the Thoroughbred Group with more information around our revenues and costs, we are seeking to drive critical industry collaboration to work together to grow the sport, while also providing a clearer picture of the challenges we face as a racecourse operator.”
Today’s announcement has been praised by Julian Richmond-Watson, Chair of the Thoroughbred Group. He said: “The Thoroughbred Group welcomes The Jockey Club’s further commitment to the sharing of financial information, which will now be provided on a more extensive basis than previously received.
“This enhanced visibility will allow us to focus on working together to grow the sport’s revenues and, in turn, increase the prize money levels upon which our participants rely.”
Paul Johnson, Chief Executive of the National Trainers’ Federation, also welcomed the news. He added: “The announcement from The Jockey Club is most welcome on two fronts. Firstly, amid concerns that the sport’s financial headwinds could see prize money fall from 2023 levels, it is very positive to see that The Jockey Club have been able to deliver an increase. Secondly, and looking further forwards, we are delighted to be able to have agreed on a commitment to greater transparency over finances.
“We believe that this is an enormously important step in being able to agree commercial partnerships with racecourses, something that we see as a foundation stone for working together to improve the sport’s future.”