The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horseracing, has announced that its 15 racecourses expect to offer record total prize money in excess of £42m (€49.5m/$67.3m) in 2014 from 364 scheduled fixtures.
The group, which reinvests the entirety of what it makes back into the sport, added that it plans to make an industry record £19.5m contribution to prize money in 2014 from its own resources, beating by more than £1m its own previous record high of £18.4m it is contributing this year. Since 2009, the Jockey Club has increased its annual contribution to prize money by £7.1m as a result of its commercial success.
The Jockey Club's 15 racecourses nationwide include Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket's Rowley Mile and July Course. Next year is set to reinforce the changes to the funding dynamics of British racing, with Jockey Club Racecourses intending to contribute from their own resources 46 per cent of the record total £42.8m prize money. Industry funding of £15.9m is slated to make up 37 per cent of the total in 2014.
Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive of the Jockey Club, said: “Prize money is the lifeblood of British racing, providing a return for racehorse owners and supporting trainers, jockeys and stable staff. It is an important measure of the health of our sport. As a result of the continued growth of our business, the Jockey Club will contribute more than ever before into prize money in 2014, with our year-on-year increase once again far outstripping improvements in the wider economy.
“At the same time we have been raising capital to invest in projects designed to enhance the customer experience we offer and increase our returns. In particular at Cheltenham we have our biggest ever facilities development, which will cost £45m to be ready ahead of the 2016 Festival. The demands on our Group remain significant and our sport's funding model still requires major works, but without shareholders the Jockey Club’s sole reason for existence is to support British racing, meaning the more successful we can be commercially, the more we can do for our sport.”