Purse Boosts For Grassroots Racing

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British racing at the grassroots level is set to receive a funding boost of £9.7-million in 2018, when a record number of 1,508 fixtures have been scheduled.

The British Horseracing Authority on Tuesday revealed a package of proposals that would see £8-million from new Levy funding, as well as £1.7-million of existing Levy funding, funneled into Class 3 and below races over jumps and Class 4 and below races on the flat. Therefore, most races in Britain will carry a minimum purse of £6,000 next year.

This funding will be supported by a new appearance money scheme and race incentive fund. The appearance money scheme would see payouts from fifth through eighth place of at least £300 for qualifying races. An existing £6-million race incentive fund will continue to incentivise the programming of races at Class 1 to 3, with a £500,000 Development Fund continuing to be used to support longer-term strategic initiatives to enhance the breed, alongside £1-million of new funding collected through an auction of BHA Fixtures.

The proposals are subject to the availability of forecast Levy funding and the approval of the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

Richard Wayman, chief operating officer of the BHA, said, “The sport cannot thrive and grow without strong foundations. Although there has been growth in total prize money in recent years, much of this has been at the top end. Targeting grassroots with extra funding will help racing’s participants to maintain their involvement in the sport, keeping more horses in training, as well as helping with the recruitment and retention of staff to care for our horses. This will support the delivery of more competitive racing, which will be better positioned in the long-term to support the growth of betting on the sport and ensure that future revenues are enhanced.”

The record number of 1,508 fixtures is 11 more than are scheduled for 2017 and include 910 races on the flat on turf (one fewer than this year), 341 on the all-weather (15 more) and 598 over jumps (three fewer). The BHA said the increased fixtures aim to deliver on three key objectives: supporting ownership, delivering more competitive and compelling racing, and increasing customer engagement. Wayman added, “In order to achieve growth we need the fixture list and race programme to work in a manner that meets our customer’s requirements and, in doing so, generates enhanced revenues for the sport with broadly the same number of fixtures. As customer and betting habits change it is essential that our sport evolves with them.”

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