In 2016 there will be record prize money across Arena Racing Company’s (“ARC”) 14 racecourses. ARC will be increasing its Executive Contribution from £11.3 million to £14 million ensuring there is over £28 million worth of prize money on offer for the 512 fixtures being run at ARC racecourses next year.
The increase in prize money demonstrates both ARC’s commitment to all levels of the sport, but also the recognition that racecourses are having to make additional investments in order to make up for the ongoing challenges faced by the Horserace Betting Levy. The increased Executive Contribution from ARC sees the company go above and beyond the requirements of the Prize Money Agreement signed with the Horsemen’s Group and British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) in 2014.
ARC’s Executive Contribution will increase across all its racecourses. The additional investment is being used to support the grassroots of the sport, as well as some key races and specific aspects of the race programme at certain racecourses.
ARC will continue to support jump racing, notably on the northern circuit, through prize money rises at Doncaster, Newcastle, Sedgefield and Uttoxeter. There will be further increases across the ARC Group including The National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park increasing from £50,000 to £80,000 and an additional £50,000 investment into Chepstow’s October Jumps Festival, taking the total prize fund from £250,000 to £300,000.
The Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow will be increasing in value from £120,000 to £150,000 in 2016, while the Betfred Midland’s Grand National at Uttoxter will increase to £130,000, from its current value of £100,000.
As part of ARC’s investment at Newcastle Racecourse the Northumberland Plate fixture will increase to £330,000, including the introduction of a £75,000 reserve race for horses balloted out of the feature race.
In addition, ARC will be investing significantly in the racing programme at Royal Windsor Racecourse with the introduction of a new series running throughout the summer culminating in a £75,000 final on Monday 15 August. Further details will be shared in due course.
Following the £300,000 investment into the turf at Great Yarmouth since 2014 ARC will be looking to attract the best young horses in training to the racecourse through an improved programme of maiden and novice races across the season.
ARC Chief Executive Martin Cruddace said, “ARC is in a period of investment. This includes a significant development to the facilities across our racecourses, including a new all-weather track at Newcastle, an improved turf track at Great Yarmouth, a new restaurant at Uttoxeter and a new grandstand at Bath Racecourse. In addition to this we are pleased to be boosting prize money to support the race programme across our racecourses in 2016.
“We are very proud in the leadership we have shown with the Authorised Betting Partner initiative but recognise we have to make the commercially difficult decision to step up to the plate as and until our industry is able to properly capture the torrent of business migrating on-line.
“The increase in prize money will ensure feature races have a prize fund to attract the top horses but also crucially there will be a significant increase in the number of races across ARC racecourses that are run above minimum value.
“ARC recognises the vital input owners, trainers and jockeys make to British Racing and we are playing our part in rewarding this by increasing our levels of investment and creating a series of compelling race programmes for all our customers”