24 February 2015 – Racing Post
Arena Racing Company is to maintain its executive contribution to prize-money at £11.3 million in 2015 despite having fewer fixtures this year. ARC, which runs 15 courses including Chepstow, Doncaster, Lingfield and Newcastle, will stage 30 fewer meetings in 2015, as well as 90 fewer races due to the BHA’s reduction of seven-race cards – which the company said could theoretically have meant a reduction in contribution from Arc’s coffers of £1 million.
However, Arc said they would keep the contribution at 2014 levels which means it will be above those required under their prize-money agreement with the Horsemen’s Group. Nevertheless, Arc managing director Tony Kelly called for a review of the way levy money is distributed which he claimed was damaging to “the grassroots of the sport”.
He said: “Since the formation of Arc in 2012 the group’s executive contribution to prize-money has increased from £8.2 million to £11.3 million despite being scheduled a significantly reduced number of fixtures and races in 2015.
“Arc’s future growth will continue to benefit the sport given Arc’s destiny is so closely intertwined with that of the whole of British racing. “There remain numerous challenges ahead, including finding a fair and equitable solution to the distribution of BHA leasehold fixtures. “Arc welcomes the government’s consultation on a racing right as it is increasingly concerned that the levy is in long term decline. “Moreover Arc is concerned that the levy is being distributed in a manner which is detrimental to supporting the grassroots of the sport.”We believe this requires an industry review to ensure all levels of the sport receive a fair financial return based primarily on the levy that each racecourse generates.”
Arc added that a 20 per cent increase in prize-money for the Coral Welsh Grand National would take the prize fund to £120,000 this year, while prize-money for the Ladbrokes St Leger will be £650,000 in September, rising to £700,000 in 2016.