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Pontefract to reinstate minimum prize-money to pre-Covid levels next week

UK racecourse Pontefract plans to reinstate minimum prize-money to pre-Covid levels earlier than planned for its meeting on August 14.

The Yorkshire course will also increase its executive contribution to ensure every race is run above minimum value from September, when pre-Covid levels are reinstated across the board at all racecourses.

Norman Gundill, managing director of the track, said: "We are delighted to be able to reinstate minimum values to pre-Covid levels at Pontefract earlier than planned.

"We are acutely aware of the huge part that owners play in racing and that they, like every part of the industry, have had their own severe financial difficulties."

The eight-race card on August 14 will be Pontefract's sixth behind closed doors and will feature the £40,000 Listed EBF Highfield Farm Flying Fillies' Stakes. 

Gundill added: "While our revenue remains severely compromised until the public are able to return, we now have a limited income from sponsors, along with other parts of the industry, and want to play our small part in helping owners and trainers.

"We wanted to enhance the entire meeting and the Listed race will have a total prize fund of £40,000 and will form part of a programme worth £96,000."

The badge allocation for syndicates will also increase to six per horse from next Friday's card and thereafter to encourage the return of more owners to the course, while sole owners will be allocated four badges per runner. 

Chief operating officer Richard Hammill said: "We are keen to help owners get back on the course so they can see their horses running.

"We have monitored numbers of owners attending recent race meetings and have allocated additional areas of the course and the stands, so we are able to increase the allocation for syndicates and welcome back larger numbers of owners safely in both indoor and outdoor spaces."

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