Racing League, a team series spanning 36 races across six evening meetings in Britain this summer, will see £1.8-million paid out in prizemoney with a bonus for the winning team under a point-based system.
Racing League is an initiative of Championship Horse Racing, which states its goal is to distance horse racing from “the public perception that it’s a complicated, elitist recreation inextricably linked to gambling.” Racing League’s 12 teams will consist of two to four trainers working together, three jockeys, stable staff and 30 horses. The horses will be declared three weeks prior to the start of Racing League, which kicks off on July 16. The meetings will take place at Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle and Royal Windsor, and the 36 races-0-90 handicaps between five furlongs and a 1 1/2 miles-will each be worth £50,000. The meetings are BHA-sanctioned, but a release from Racing League on Monday noted that special whip rules will be in effect: jockeys will be allowed to carry them, but use them for only safety and correction purposes.
The meetings will feature “team activation zones” where fans can get unparalleled access to jockeys, trainers and team ambassadors. Each of the contests will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Trainer Jamie Osborne was among those throwing his support behind the concept, saying, “Spectator-wise, horse racing is a sporting giant in the UK, and I personally think it deserves to be acknowledged on the same level as sports such as rugby, cricket and football. The way to do that is to implement ways of opening it up to new and untapped audiences, so I wholeheartedly support what everyone at the Racing League is aiming to achieve.”
Jockey Martin Dwyer added, “I think the Racing League is a really exciting addition to the British horse racing calendar and I believe the fans will welcome it. It’s a positive step for the racing industry to take, and the increase in prize money at handicap-level racing can only be good for the sport.”