Rewards4Racing helping all British and Irish tracks in face of coronavirus

Racecourses struggling with the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak have been given a boost with the news that Rewards4Racing is offering its services and expertise to those courses which are not part of the scheme.

British racing's rewards programme, which has built up more than a million members in the ten years since it was launched, is partnered with the tracks in the Jockey Club Racecourse and Arena Racing Company groups, along with York.

It was recently revealed Britain's racecourses are losing £8.2 million a month due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Rewards4Racing bids to attract new racegoers as well as retain and reward existing customers.

Last year 960,000 tickets to the races were bought by its members, making up almost one fifth of all attendances in Britain.

And in the latest example of co-operation between British and Irish racing, Rewards4Racing is also offering its help to Irish racecourses.

Rewards4Racing's co-founder and director Josh Apiafi said: "Since the start of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, it has been well documented that racecourse finances, like so many other industries, have been badly affected. 

"We want to make sure that racecourses have as much support as possible at this time and so we will be available to offer our platform and loyalty expertise when they are ready, whether that is now or later in the year."

Apiafi said members had still been able to collect Rewards4Racing points, including with betting partners bet365, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred and Coral, despite racing having closed down in March.

He added: "Our members have millions of pounds worth of points on their accounts which are ready to be redeemed at our partner racecourses once racing resumes in front of a crowd later in the year.”

Initial talks have begun with a number of courses, including Plumpton.

"These are unprecedented times and have been challenging for everyone, including racecourses," said Plumpton chief executive Dan Thompson.

"We were delighted to be approached by Rewards4Racing with an offer to join the programme. The idea of rewarding loyalty from our racegoers is not a new concept to us but one that we believe is extremely important and our new partnership with Rewards4Racing recognises that. 

"To work alongside other racecourses for the good of the sport is something that we are excited to be part of."

Apiafi is himself recovering after suffering muscular and disc injuries when the Oliver Sherwood-trained Captain Peacock, who he owned with Andrew Black, suffered a fatal heart attack on the gallops with Apiafi aboard. 

"He was a horse that we've owned with Andrew Black all the way through. He came back in after a year off the day we went into lockdown and he has been the family project," Apiafi said.

"It was gutting for the family and it was more of an ordeal for those watching than for me. I was being looked after by the amazing ambulance services and the Lambourn gallops team led by Will Rigall."