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UK prize money boost from September

Following the approval of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) to increase its support of prize money for the final four months of the year, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in agreement with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and Horsemen’s Group, has published a revised fixture list and increased minimum prize money levels from 1 September. The appearance money scheme, that had been in place until the suspension of racing in March, will also be re-introduced.

The resumption of racing involved the publication of a revised fixture list between June and August, together with reduced minimum prize money values which had been based on the HBLB providing almost all prize money for the three-month period. The previously communicated minimum values following the resumption of racing, as announced in May, will remain in place for the remainder of August. 

Minimum Values

From 1 September, minimum values will increase at all levels, with the middle and grassroots tiers of British racing returning to their pre-Covid levels. For Class 1 races and Heritage Handicaps, minimum values will increase to become 75% of their levels from before the suspension.

The increased minimum values from September can be downloaded here.

In addition to extra HBLB funding, all racecourses will be making executive contributions towards the prize money of every race programmed.

Appearance Money

The appearance money scheme, which had been created in 2018, will be re-introduced from the beginning of September. The scheme is designed to improve the return to owners at the middle and lower tiers, and will involve qualifying races making payments of £300 on the Flat and £350 over Jumps for horses finishing between fifth and eighth place.

In eligible races over steeple chases, a trial will be conducted through the period involving making payments to the remainder of the field, subject to horses meeting minimum rating requirements. This is in response to potential issues raised in the five year-welfare strategy published by the Horse Welfare Board earlier in the year. Full details will be issued as soon as possible.

Fixture List

The Fixture List for September to December has also been published, with the programme of fixtures remaining largely consistent with the list published in July 2019, subject to a number of minor adjustments:  

A maximum of 5 fixtures will take place on any day to ensure the sport can continue to successfully implement the numerous Covid-related protocols in place, including the health screening of all participants

Start times of fixtures will be scheduled to avoid the creation of race clashes wherever possible

Fixtures will generally comprise seven programmed races, with one race permitted to divide. To assist the needs of the horse population, up to two races will be permitted to divide at floodlit fixtures through the period.

To reduce the risk of spreading infection, all participants will only be permitted to attend one race meeting on any day, which will be facilitated by scheduling a maximum of 4 Flat fixtures on any single day

To provide additional opportunities following the ten-week suspension, a programme of five floodlit fixtures will be added to the six days in November where a break in the Flat fixture list had originally been planned 

The fixture list between Christmas and New Year, including the 8 fixtures provisionally scheduled to take place on Boxing Day, will be reviewed nearer the time.

The revised fixture list from September to December includes 460 fixtures, compared with 455 in the original fixture list, and can be downloaded here.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said: “As we enter the autumn and racehorse owners begin to make their plans for 2021, this increase in minimum prize money levels across all levels from September is a critical part of the sport’s recovery plans.

“Owners have displayed great patience in recent months and it is crucial that prize money grows at all levels as quickly as possible. Whilst there is a long way to go, the increase in minimum values together with the re-introduction of the appearance money scheme are clearly steps in the right direction.

“We have learnt a lot from a number of the fixture innovations that were put in place as part of the emergency fixture list, some of which will continue for the remainder of the year. Others may return in the future but it is evident that the return to a more familiar fixture list, at least for now, will provide a boost to industry revenues, particularly as we look forward to crowds returning to racecourses later in the year. 

“This has only been possible due to the Levy Board significantly increasing its support of prize money compared with its original plans and we would like to express our gratitude for their approach as we seek to plot a long term course for our sport to recover from its current challenges.”


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