Jockey Club to increase prize money
The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British racing, have announced their racecourse arm will offer more than £40million in prize money across its 361 scheduled fixtures in 2013, which is an increase of more than £5million on 2012 and includes a record £18.6million contribution directly from Jockey Club Racecourses.
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The record level of prize money funding from Jockey Club Racecourses' own resources is a 10.7 per cent increase above its previous record £16.8 million contributed in 2012 and once again represents more than 60 per cent of its projected available profit for the year.
The £18.6million injection accounts for nearly half (46 per cent) of the prize money available through The Jockey Club's 15 racecourses next year. Industry funding of £15.1million represents 38 per cent of the total, while owners' entry fees are anticipated to be £6.7million (17 per cent).
Jockey Club Racecourses' annual contribution to prize money has increased by 50 per cent - more than £6 million - over five years (2009-2013) since prize money at its courses last topped £40million, before a significant drop in industry funding through the Horserace Betting Levy.
Revealing 2013 prize money plans for Jockey Club Racecourses, Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said: "The Jockey Club exists solely for the good of racing and cares about the long-term health of our sport.
"Today's prize money announcement is another demonstration of how everything we make goes back into British racing and the importance of providing a fair return to horsemen.
"The further increase in our own contribution to a record £18.6million, coupled with extra Levy funding next year, means a £5million injection into prize money on our courses in areas we believe will benefit horsemen the most, to a total in excess of £40million.
"Just to be clear, once again we are putting in more than 60 per cent of our available profits to prize money and this contribution exceeds the amount we receive through media race fees.
"I'm delighted that in the process of offering more than £40million in prize money next year, we have also been able to upgrade our race programme.
"Quality racing is vital to the future health of our sport and in 2013 we are focused on achieving this not only at large courses on weekends, but also at our small courses and in midweek."
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director, Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "Today, operating a racecourse business you must focus on a range of income streams, not just one.
"We're working hard to promote quality racing and a diverse leisure and events business, with the single objective of reinvesting profits back into our sport.
"Whether it's from gate receipts, media rights or staging a launch event for a new range of cars, every penny we make goes back in prize money, improving facilities or through new initiatives for the good of the sport.
"In 2013 we've set some challenging budget targets to enable us to increase our investment, but with a new structure, talented workforce and passion for what we're doing, I'm confident about the year ahead for Jockey Club Racecourses."
Richard Wayman, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: "The £5million increase in total prize money is very welcome news for horsemen, and The Jockey Club deserves particular credit for increasing its own contribution by nearly £2million.
"The Jockey Club clearly appreciates that the recruitment and retention of racehorse owners is dependent on ensuring that a fair share of their revenues are invested in prize money.
"Their commitment to delivering improvements in the race programme is welcome, as is the fact that the increases in prize money will be spread across all of their venues and all levels of races.
"Looking to the future, we must now work closely together to secure formalised agreements that would benefit both horsemen and racecourses, thereby supporting the outlook for British racing beyond 2013."
The Jockey Club's racecourses are: 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.