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Jockey Club Racecourses to step up prize money contributions from September to minimise reduction in total prize fund while facing substantial loss of revenues

Article 14th August 2020

By The Jockey Club

  • £13.5 million of prize money will be available to participants at JCR fixtures over the final four months of this year
  • Average prize money at JCR will be more than £120,000 per fixture
  • JCR’s £3.7 million executive contribution will ensure the majority of its Class 1 to 3 races are worth at least 80% of their pre-pandemic value and none less than 75%
  • Group 1 examples include the Darley Dewhurst to run for £400,000, the Betfair Sprint Cup at £225,000 and the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at £400,000
  • Grade 1 examples include the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase to run for £200,000 and the Betfair Chase at £160,000
  • JCR welcomes additional Levy Board funding for British Racing, which focuses considerable funds on returning BHA Minimum Values for middle to grassroots races to pre-pandemic levels, in tandem with racecourse contributions for every race and owners’ entry stakes

 

£13.5 million of prize money will be available to participants at Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) over the final four months of the year, after The Jockey Club’s racecourse arm increased its executive contribution and thanks to the Horseracing Betting Levy Board (HBLB) upping industry funding, compared to the recent transition period since racing resumed on 1st June.

At a time when JCR anticipates it will lose around £75 million in revenues this year from the ongoing impact of COVID-19, race values across JCR’s 112 scheduled fixtures from September to December will reduce by less than £3 million versus the £16.38 million originally budgeted for this period and equate to average prize money of more than £120,000 per fixture being available to participants.

JCR has consistently contributed the most to prize money from its own resources of any racing organisation in Britain. Its plan to contribute nearly £1 million per month for the final four months of the year will make 2020 no exception, despite operating at a loss even under a major programme of cost savings and with no guarantees about when vital revenues from spectators may return. Since racing resumption, JCR has continued to make executive contributions.

Racecourses in Britain continue to face material uncertainty regarding the majority of their standard revenue streams, including general admissions, catering and hospitality sales, which rely on spectators and are currently contributing zero to cover the significant costs of operating.

HBLB funding is being focused primarily on supporting race values at the middle to grassroots levels of the sport, which will see Minimum Values there returning to pre-pandemic levels at JCR and across British Racing’s Fixture List from September, and the return of the appearance money scheme.

Race values at all levels are also supported by JCR making executive contribution for every race. In addition, JCR has moved to increase its financial support for Class 1 to 3 races compared to the recent resumption period, June to August. This will see the majority of races of that quality run at JCR tracks for at least 80% of their planned pre-pandemic value and none for less than 75%.

High profile races

JCR is pleased to confirm its remaining Group 1 and Grade 1* race values:

Flat:

  • Darley Dewhurst Stakes, £400,000 (£287,500 or 256% above Minimum Value for 2yo Group 1)
  • Bet365 Fillies’ Mile, £400,000 (£250,000 or 167% above Minimum Value for 3yo+ Group 1)
  • Betfair Sprint Cup £225,000 (£75,000 or 50% above Minimum Value for 3yo+ Group 1)
  • Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, £220,000 (£107,500 or 95.6% above Minimum Value for 2yo Group 1)
  • Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, £220,000 (£107,500 0r 95.6% above Minimum Value for 2yo Group 1)
  • The Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, £200,000 (£50,000 or 33% above Minimum Value for 3yo+ Group 1)

 

Jumps:

  • Ladbrokes King George VI Chase, £200,000 (£125,000 or 167% above Minimum Value for Grade 1 Chase)
  • Betfair Chase, £160,000 (£85,000 or 113% above Minimum Value for Grade 1 Chase)
  • Betfair Tingle Creek Chase, £120,000 (£45,000 or 60% above Minimum Value for Grade 1 Chase)

Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle, £105,000 (£48,750 or 87% above Minimum Value for Grade 1 Hurdle)

The Minimum Value for staging a Group 1 Flat race in Britain is now £150,000 for three-year-olds and older, and £112,500 for juveniles, and for a Grade 1 Chase is £75,000 and a Grade 1 Hurdle is £56,250.

Richard Norris, Group Racing Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“Jockey Club Racecourses is committed to all levels of our sport. In recent years we have increased prize money at grassroots levels, for example, by 33% and in this funding crisis we’re pleased to see the Levy Board stepping up its support.

“Their focus on supporting the middle and lower tiers of British Racing is seeing minimum prize money values for those race classes return to their pre-pandemic thresholds, helped by our executive contributions and owners’ entry stakes. We’re grateful for the Levy Board’s contribution and to all our sponsors for their continued support.

“It means JCR’s executive contribution can make a considerable difference to the upper tiers of our sport compared to what incentives would now be otherwise, ensuring the value of high profile fixtures reflect the quality of the racehorses we want to attract to race and that fans want to watch and bet on.

“We always do the absolute maximum we can to fund prize money and that’s exactly what we’re doing now with hugely reduced revenues not even allowing us to cover our costs at the moment. With the majority of our revenue streams at zero with no spectators, this is an incredibly challenging period financially for JCR, as we recognise it is across different sectors of society.”

William Haggas, one of Britain’s leading Flat trainers, said:

“There is no country in the world who has to rely more on people’s attendance to help fund the sport than here in Britain. Jockey Club Racecourses’ loss of revenue from racing behind closed doors has been a financial catastrophe. However, I am delighted they have seized the initiative to improve and increase their prize money for the rest of the year, which is greatly appreciated by participants and I commend their efforts in achieving the best possible outcome for racing. It is hugely important to us all that we get back to normal as soon as possible and in the meantime it is vital that we continue to be diligent and concentrate on not spreading the risk of this disease.”

Newmarket-based trainer, Amy Murphy, said:

“During these trying times it is great to see Jockey Club Racecourses stepping up prize money at a much needed time for both owners and trainers, well done to all involved. As an industry we need to come together to find a way through this crisis in order for as many horsemen to survive as possible and prize money levels are key to this, so it’s good to see this being acted on.”

Paul Nicholls, eleven times champion Jumps trainer, said:

“Despite the financial challenges faced by its racecourse businesses, The Jockey Club has continued to recognise the significance of prize money as an investment driver for owners and in adding £3.7m from its own resources between Sept and Dec has made a significant contribution to the retention of owners and the livelihood of horsemen.”

Nicky Henderson, who has secured Britain’s Jumps trainer title on six occasions, said:

“Given the financial headwinds that racecourses are facing and the uncertain future in relation to the return of paying customers, The Jockey Club is to be complimented for its bold decision to invest substantially in prize money over the next four months.”

John Gosden, Britain’s four-time champion Flat trainer, said:

“As in the vast majority of industries and their related businesses, Jockey Club Racecourses is obviously facing huge financial challenges and we respect their openness and transparency. We welcome their executive contribution to prize money, which is leading by example.”

Notes to Editors

*List does not include Novice races

About The Jockey Club

One of the largest sports businesses operating in the UK today (2018 turnover: £214.6 million), The Jockey Club is at the heart of so many aspects of Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport. We run 15 of the UK’s leading racecourses – large and local, where we’re charged with looking after some of the nation’s biggest events, including the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree, The Festival presented by Magners at Cheltenham, The Derby Festival at Epsom Downs and the QIPCO Guineas Festival in Newmarket. We welcome thousands of racehorses a year to our training centres in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom. We run The National Stud in Newmarket and our charity, Racing Welfare, makes help available to all of racing’s people. We are governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term benefit of British Racing and our Patron is Her Majesty The Queen.

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