Race values across Britain have been slashed in a bid to combat the financial impact that is expected to hit the racing on account of the Covid-19 forced suspension.
Racing is set to resume on 1 June but when it does the minimum prize money for Group One affairs will be temporarily slashed by 50%. Governing body, British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced race values have been cut across the tiers with the top level feeling the pinch the most. On average, there has been a 20% cut back in prize money across the board.
The minimum funds for Group One affairs will shrink from £200,000 to £100,000 in races for 3yo and older horses, while funding for top-level juvenile races is being halved to £75,000. Group Two and Group Three events for 3yo and older horses will see a decrease of 42% and 38% respectively, with Class Two handicaps down 11% to £40,000.
Funding has been increased at the lower end of the scale with all Class 5 races' minimum values up 20% to £5,400 and 23% to £4,300 at Class 6 level.
As far as jumps races go, minimum values for open Grade One chases are down 40% to £60,000, while Grade One hurdles will see a 33% reduction to £50,000. Similarly, Class 4 and Class 5 races will have increased minimum values, but lose additional levy funding.
On Thursday, the Horserace Betting Levy Board announced it would be increasing its prize-money contribution by 23% to £16.4 million for the first ten weeks when the sport resumes. However, with betting shops and racecourses remaining closed to punters initially, prize money is still set to take a hit.
Richard Wayman, the BHA’s chief operating officer, said on Thursday: “British racing’s recovery from the current situation will be dependent on the continuing support of racehorse owners and it’s therefore regrettable that, as has also been the case in other jurisdictions, we’ve had to reduce minimum prize money levels when racing returns.
“We’re very grateful for the increased contributions provided by the Horseracing Betting Levy Board which have allowed the sport to mitigate the impact to a certain extent, and agree a strategy that seeks to support the retention of owners and their horses.”
Wayman added: “We’re fortunate that many owners at all levels continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the sport, and it's important to stress that these reductions, which will also impact on the livelihoods of trainers, jockeys and stable staff, are a short-term measure only.
“The resumption of racing at the beginning of June provides a fantastic opportunity to put British racing into the spotlight and engage the nation with our sport. This can yield benefits in the short term and for years to come.
“The values will therefore remain under constant review as it is important that they are raised at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Meanwhile, the minimum prize money levels in the US, released Wednesday, see a reduction of $50,000 to a new minimum of $250,000 (£205,000) in Grade One races.