27 March 2014 – Racing Post
Arena Racing Company, owner of 14 racecourses in Britain, has signed a prize-money agreement with the Horsemen’s Group, taking the total number of tracks enlisted to 53 from a total of 58.
The three-year deal, which is underpinned by the BHA, runs from 2014-2016, and brings to an end a stand off between Arc and the Horsemen’s Group stretching back to October when the company’s refusal to sign angered horsemen.
Arc managing director Tony Kelly said: “We are delighted to have signed a prize-money agreement. We recognise the value horsemen place on getting a greater return from prize-money and the mutual benefits of a longer-term deal.”
The new deal represents an increase of 24 per cent and Kelly continued: “Arc’s executive contribution for 2014 is £11.3m, an increase of £2.2m, and with this contract we have committed to meeting the terms agreed with the Horsemen’s Group and BHA for the next three years.
“Following last year’s discussions we have been able to agree a deal which will allow racing’s participants to share in Arc’s future growth which is to the benefit of British racing as a whole.”
A total of 39 racecourses signed the deal between September and November last year, which together with Arc’s prize-money commitment to BHA for 2014, produced an increase of nearly £5m in prize-money. This contributed to a forecast total figure for prize-money in 2014 in excess of £123m, a new record.
Horsemen’s Group chairman Philip Freedman said: “It’s our belief that prize-money agreements represent a new era of collaboration and trust between racing’s key stakeholders.
“Consequently, it is encouraging that Arc, as the group with the largest number of fixtures, has now signed the same deal with the Horsemen’s Group and BHA, which is excellent news for all our members.”
BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said: “Prize-money agreements provide further evidence of the benefits for the sport when the key stakeholders work together in the best interests of the sport as a whole. We’re pleased that Arc have seen value in coming under the umbrella of prize-money agreements, which was a natural extension of the commitment they’d already provided to BHA.
“Recent developments in terms of government announcing its intention to address British racing’s central funding issues give grounds for optimism that the economic health of the sport will markedly improve.”
The five courses that have not signed the agreement are Catterick, Hexham, Plumpton, Redcar and Towcester.