Jockey Club
Jockey Club prize money reduction: reasons and potential effects

Jockey Club prize money reduction: reasons and potential effects

From May 1, the Jockey Club is reducing its executive contribution to prize-money at racecourses it owns and runs. The Jockey Club will be reducing its contribution to prize-money by approximately £750,000 to £31.1 million for the year. As a consequence, levy payments and entry fees are also expected to fall, meaning the total prize-money available at Jockey Club racecourses in 2024 will be £58.6m from a forecast £60.1m in January.

The Jockey Club is the second-largest racecourse group in Britain behind Arena Racing Company (Arc). Its 15 racecourses comprise some of the most high-profile venues in the country such as Cheltenham, Sandown, Epsom, the two tracks at Newmarket and Aintree, which will host this week’s Randox Grand National meeting. Carlisle, Exeter, Haydock, Huntingdon, Kempton, Market Rasen, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton complete the group’s portfolio.

The Jockey Club is governed by a Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British horseracing. It would be logical to expect all racecourses in the group to be impacted, but we know for certain that Haydock, Kempton, Carlisle, Sandown and Exeter will each lose a Premier raceday as a result of the reduction in prize-money and instead have these meetings run as core racedays. For a fixture to be Premier, it has to reach a defined prize-money threshold of each race being worth at least £20,000 on the Flat, or £15,000 over jumps.

On Monday, Truesdale told the Racing Post that the Jockey Club did not want to remove funds from the biggest races, “the July Cup, the Derby, the Dewhursts of this world” and as such was forced to “look at the handicaps and the fixtures that are on the border of Premier and core” for the prize-money reductions. In November last year, David Armstrong, the Racecourse Association chief executive, warned that there was the real prospect of prize-money falling in 2024 due to the “triple whammy” of inflation, falling betting turnover and British racing’s new industry strategy. Some courses have announced increases in prize-money, with York and Ascot each boosting funding by £700,000 to £11.2m and £17.5m, respectively, for 2024.

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