The minimum prize money amounts allowed under the Rules of Racing for the first 10 weeks of British racing have been published, the British Horseracing Authority announced on Thursday. After a £15.7 million contribution from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), racing’s leaders have agreed to minimum values which will exceed, on average, 80% of the previously permitted minimum levels, with an emphasis of supporting prize money levels at the middle and grassroots level of the sport to retain as many owners and horses-in-training as possible. Group 1 Flat races have received a 50% purse cut. The purse cuts were necessary as racing will be staged behind closed doors and betting shops will remain closed, adversely affecting revenue for prize money allocation. The HBLB will monitor the levy revenues generated once racing resumes, and the minimum values will remain under review and revert to current levels as soon as circumstances allow.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said,
“British racing’s recovery from the current situation will be dependent on the continuing support of racehorse owners and it is therefore regrettable that, as has also been the case in other jurisdictions, we have had to reduce minimum prize money levels when racing returns.
“We are very grateful for the increased contributions provided by the Horseracing Betting Levy Board which have allowed the sport to mitigate the impact to a certain extent, and agree a strategy that seeks to support the retention of owners and their horses. However, even with those, it has not been possible to fully make up for the loss of revenues resulting from racing without crowds or betting shops remaining closed, particularly in the higher classes that were especially dependent on contributions from racecourses and their sponsors.
“We are fortunate that many owners at all levels continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the sport, and it is important to stress that these reductions, which will also impact on the livelihoods of trainers, jockeys and stable staff, are a short-term measure only.
“The resumption of racing at the beginning of June provides a fantastic opportunity to put British racing into the spotlight and engage the nation with our sport. This can yield benefits in the short term and for years to come. The values will therefore remain under constant review as it is important that they are raised at the earliest possible opportunity.”
“The contribution of the HBLB is most welcome and will go a long way to protecting prize money for owners in the new programme,” said Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association. “The planned return to racing has been a huge collaborative effort from the horsemen, the racecourses, the BHA and the Levy Board. However, we simply would not have a sport to return to without the great loyalty shown by owners who have supported their horses in training throughout this challenging period. We cannot thank them enough for the patience and support they have shown.”
Added David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, “The RCA on behalf of its members welcomes the prize money support provided by the HBLB which is essential in enabling the resumption of racing behind closed doors. The operational conditions faced by racecourses to stage racing behind closed doors are complex and we are working hard to be ready for resumption on 1st June. The continuing support by the HBLB to fund the efforts across the sport, including for racecourses, will be essential.”
For the complete list of prize money available for races under the new system, please visit www.britishhorseracing.com.