Pontefract announce prize money surge
Total prize money will top £1million at Pontefract for the first time in five years in the 2013 Flat season.
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A combination of increased media rights payments and a £100,000 rise in overall funding from the Levy Board will allow for a dramatic 34% year-on-year increase in the prize money offered at the track, managing director Norman Gundill revealed on Wednesday.
Whether other racecourses are able or willing to make such welcome announcements in the months ahead remains to be seen, but Gundill was clearly delighted to be able to reinstate a minimum value of £5,000 to every race on Pontefract's 16-fixture programme.
"Last year was one of the most difficult I have ever experienced with all but four of our racedays affected by the weather," he said.
"Two of our meetings clashed with England matches in the European Championships and others with the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic Torch relay.
"Our total attendance was down 21.63% as a result on the year and gate receipts were down 19.45%. It was a miserable year.
"But despite the weather we continued to have some excellent racing and my simple philosophy remains to improve all aspects of this racecourse, the stands and the facilities, the standard of the track and the standard of the racing programme - including the level of prize money."
Gundill, recently awarded an MBE for his work in racing, added that the re-introduction of Levy Board Capital Fund loans would enable the track to begin work upon improving the horsewalk between the course and the racecourse stables and to upgrade the facilities in the Tote and Betfred building next to the paddock.