Jockey Club tracks to get prize money boost in 2018

The Jockey Club has announced a £4.2 million increase in its prize money contribution in 2018.

Total race values at the 15 tracks owned by the group are set to exceed £53 million, which is an increase of £8 million year-on-year, with the values including around £1.6 million on offer from the new industry appearance money scheme.

The Jockey Club's tracks have 348 race days scheduled for 2018 with every fixture offering at least £40,000 in total race values and at least £65,000 on Sundays.

Every fixture will include at least one race worth £10,000 or more, with all of the group's 'small courses' staging at least one fixture previously worth in the region of £55,000 boosted to £80,000 or more, meaning that each of these tracks will stage at least four fixtures worth £80,000 or more next year.

Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "This is the Jockey Club's largest ever commitment to horsemen and we really hope that will also translate into good news for racing fans alike. I'm very proud of our people who have worked hard to achieve the commercial results we need to be able to offer this. Because we already put all of our money back into the sport, we can only increase our prize money contribution if we create the commercial returns to do so. Some people might think that our prize money is all about the highest race classes or at one or two racecourses, but these figures demonstrate another step forward in our commitment to supporting British racing at all levels."

Philip Freedman, chairman of the Horsemen's Group, which represents racehorse owners, trainers, stable staff, breeders and jockeys, added: "Horsemen are obviously delighted by the increase in the Jockey Club's prize money contribution for 2018. Given the new media rights contracts are placing greater emphasis on field sizes the increases, particularly for grass roots racing, should ensure that these fixtures are attractive to horsemen. The minimum guarantees at every fixture, and at enhanced levels on Sundays, should ensure that these fixtures are attractive not only to owners, but also to racegoers and the betting public, to the benefit of all those whose livelihoods depend on the health of the sport."