Racing Post – 11th April 2018
Arena Racing Company is to ‘unlock’ every race for the rest of the year so securing the extra funding which will lift prize-money at its 15 tracks to in excess of £35 million in 2018.
The racecourse operator’s full adoption of three-year prize-money agreement, announced by the BHA in January at the grassroots of the sport, will guarantee a minimum purse of 6,000 for races of Class 6 and above. As a result ARC’s executive contribution will grow to a planned £17.5m this year, from £11.3m in 2015.
The grassroots prize-money scheme entitled racecourses access to £1,600 in incentive and appearance money payments from a central pool, provided tracks put in an additional £900 to Class 4-6 races on the Flat and Clas 3-5 over jumps. It was not obligatory and while the BHA said there had been 97 per cent take-up in the latest edition of the programme book, ARC advertised ten races at the minimum level of £3,500 in order to develop “a better understanding of the impact of prize-money on field sizes”. But when the first contest at Wolverhampton attracted only five declarations, after re-opening, the experiment was abandoned, resulting in ARC now making a full commitment to providing the additional investment.
ARC chief executive Martin Cruddace said: “ARC is pleased with 2018 prize-money levels. In line with the industry approach, the significant increases in prize-money is at the grassroots level and we look forward to measuring the impact this has on field sizes and ownership in the months and years ahead. “We are putting significant energy and investment into our media rights models, which we believe offers British racing the opportunity to safeguard and increase the value of its product, while growing betting on the sport in partnership with betting operators around the world.”