"A continuation and consolidation of the policy of rewarding horses of ability and providing flexibility for racecourses is the key to the Minimum Race Values for 1999 which the BHB announces today.
When setting Minimum Values last September for 1998, BHB stated that it expected the combination of greater incentivisation of racecourses under a revised Levy Board Merit Table formula and added flexibility in the structure of Minimum Values to lead to improvement in overall prize money levels. Figures for the first 31 weeks of 1998 confirm conclusively that this has indeed been the effect.
Thus, in setting minimum values for 1999 which will see increases in both Flat and National Hunt Minimum Values for all races at or above Class C, BHB is building upon the successful framework put in place a year ago. Full details accompany this release.
On the Flat the increases decided for Pattern Races are in line with the levels which racecourses themselves have established this year in the face of international competition but they are also being asked to enhance Listed Race values by more than 10%. The value of these black type races has tended to come under pressure both from equivalent races abroad and from handicap races of lower class. The increases in National Hunt Minimum Values follow a similar theme and confirm BHB's commitment to maintaining attractive jumping opportunities with an emphasis on rewards for steeplechasers.
Minimum Values for the lowest class of race, Class G, are unchanged (only Hunter Chases can run below this figure) but racecourses have been given a little more flexibility via small reductions at Class E and F on the Flat and at Class F for National Hunt races. Minimum Values are of course only a value below which races cannot be advertised and competition amongst racecourses will continue to ensure that these values are generally exceeded.
BHB is confident that its policy of utilising Minimum Values to ensure that horses of ability are adequately rewarded within a flexible framework, plus the incentivisation of racecourses, will ensure that the overall prize money pool is maximised. In 1998 this approach has produced a 4.5% improvement with racecourses and their sponsors already having provided an extra £1.7 million. An analysis of prize money in 1998 is attached together with full details of 1999 Minimum Values.