Newbury Racecourse announces prize money increase

By Barrie Hudson - 15 January 2024

SportBusiness

A record £7m prize money budget for 2024 has been announced by Newbury Racecourse.

The organisation says this represents a 13 percent like-for-like increase on 2023, following a 16 percent increase from 2022. 

The rise in prize money has come about as a direct result of the increased media income Newbury anGcipates earning from iys move to Sky. The executive contribution on offer will also increase to a record £3.5m, which is a 14 percent increase on 2023 following a 26 percent year-on- year rise from 2022.

This increased prize money will be offered across the 31 fixtures staged at the track this year, 11 of which qualify as one of the newly introduced BHA Premier fixtures.

The inaugural Premier fixture, BeSair Super Saturday, taking place on Saturday 10 February, will be the first to benefit from the increased prize money on offer.

Both the Grade 2 BeSair Denman Chase and Grade 2 BeSair Game Spirit Chase will be run for a total prize fund of £85,000, a £15,000 increase on 2023. The second Premier fixture on Saturday 2 March will see the BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase have a total of £100,000 prize money on offer, compared to £60,000 in 2023.

Other notable increases throughout Newbury’s NaGonal Hunt calendar include the Grade 2 Coral John Francome Novices’ Chase which sees a further £25,000 on offer to £75,000. The Mandarin Chase run on Coral Challow Hurdle Day, won in 2023 by trainer Toby Lawes with Surrey Quest, has more than doubled in prize money, with a total prize fund of £75,000, up from £30,650 in 2023. 

The sole Grade 1 of the season at Newbury, the Coral Challow Hurdle also benefits from an addiGonal £15,000 in prize money with the 2024 renewal set to be run for a total prize fund of £100,000.

Throughout the summer Flat turf season, several of Newbury’s flat fixtures have received a further boost. The feature race of the Flat fixture list, the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, will this year be run for £400,000. 

The Listed Carnarvon Stakes, on the Lockinge Stakes undercard, sees an addiGonal £15,000 in the total prize fund with WorldPool once again conGnuing their support of Al Shaqab Lockinge Day. Further Group races to receive prize money increases include the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, won last year by Arrest in what was Frankie Debori’s last winner at the track, will have £90,000 on offer in 2024. 

The feature race of the BetVictor Hungerford Day card, the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes has a total prize fund of £125,000. The Dubai Duty Free InternaGonal Weekend sees both the Group 3 Dubai InternaGonal World Trophy and Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes receive prize money boosts of £15,000 and £10,000 respecGvely, to £85,000 and £100,000. 

The prize money increases are distributed across the whole schedule with all Class 5 handicaps in Flat core fixtures guaranteed to be run for a minimum of £11,000, up from £8,650 in 2023.

Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, said: “We have today announced further prize money increases for the 2024 season with additional investment across both our Premier and Core fixtures, taking Newbury to a record £7M in total prizemoney for the year. 

"We have been able to make two successive years of significant advances in our prizemoney mainly due to our new media arrangements with Sky Sports Racing and our board are pleased to be able to do so at a time when the industry really needs such an investment. 

"It is well known there are significant headwinds facing racecourses and further prizemoney increases in years to come will be very much dependant on Newbury being able to navigate these and create increased commercial returns through other trading activities such as growing attendances, that can then be shared with our industry partners. 

"Once again, my thanks must go to all our sponsors for their continued support and we very much look forward to the season ahead and welcoming horses, connecGons and racegoers back to Newbury to enjoy top class racing action.”

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: “It is welcome news to see Newbury Racecourse increasing its prize money by 13 percent in 2024. 

"Equally important is that the investment is being made across all of the 31 fixtures, not just the 11 Premier fixtures, as it is critical to ensure owners of horses running at Newbury across all classes are rewarded with increased returns. 

"The staging of Class 5 races on the Flat for a minimum of £11,000, an increase of over 25 percent, is particularly welcome. With a well-regarded owners raceday experience and increased prize money, I am sure owners will look for opportunities for their horses at Newbury across the year.”

Jamie Snowden, trainer of 2023 Coral Gold Cup winner Datsalrightgino, commented: “As a local trainer to Newbury, it is a course we look to support as much as possible not only due to proximity but given it is one of the fairest tracks around. 

"We have enjoyed many memorable days there, most notably winning the Coral Gold Cup which was a fantastic day for all involved. This increase in prize money is very welcome news and necessary for our loyal owners who put so much into the sport in what are challenging economic times for many. 

"It will only boost the brilliant raceday experience already on offer for owners at Newbury.”

Eve Johnson-Houghton, a leading local flat trainer, said: “In our role we have to look after our owners without whom trainers wouldn’t be able to continue. Prize money is central to this and the news that Newbury is increasing their prize money offering by nearly £1 million is positive news. 

"There are some big increases across the flat season and it is very pleasing that Newbury have made a further commitment to increasing prize money following last year’s increases. As our local track we enjoy having runners there and this will only help to further our support. 

"Further to this, we welcome the commitment from Newbury to provide financial data to the Thoroughbred Group as part of the drive to greater transparency.”

 

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