BHB is making available to racecourses some £4m in 2004 through its Prize Money Incentive Scheme, which continues after its widely-welcomed inauguration last year.
2003 saw BHB contribute over £4m from its own resources to prize money via the Scheme, which rewards racecourses for increasing their contribution levels to prize money and also provides them with an incentive to stage certain types of race which are essential to the overall race programme.
BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said: “The Scheme got off to a flying start in 2003 and we were extremely pleased that 46 racecourses decided to become involved, with a similar number expected to participate this year. It is an excellent example of how a central fund held by the governing authority can be used by one sector to benefit the sport as a whole.
“The Scheme’s benefit to the sport was very apparent in the last four months of the year following the Levy Board’s decision to cut its prize money support by £6m. Many racecourses increased their contributions in this period because they knew that they would be matched by BHB, and the Scheme thus helped provide stability at a difficult time. Racecourses are again commended for their efforts in this period when the extra £1.2m which they committed went some way to reducing the impact of the Levy Board’s action.
“By being able to offer incentive payments, we also had the flexibility to ensure that a whole range of very important Flat and Jump races, particularly those for younger horses, were programmed.”
The BHB Incentive Scheme has two parts.
Under Part 1, BHB provides matched-funded contributions to a racecourse’s prize money once the course’s own contribution to prize money has passed a certain level. In 2003, 41 racecourses took part, leading to a BHB contribution of £3.2m. A similar number of racecourses are expected to participate in 2004.
Part 2 is the Race Planning Incentive Scheme which provides payments to racecourses which stage certain Open Mares’ Handicap Hurdles, two-mile Handicap Hurdles and Introductory Hurdle Races over Jumps; and New Listed races, Fillies Listed Races, four-year-olds and upwards Conditions Stakes and Fillies Rated Stakes on the Flat. BHB and the racecourse put in equal amounts to prize money. BHB’s 2004 contribution to Part 2 is estimated to be £700,000. 39 racecourses received contributions under Part 2 in 2003, including 5 who were not in Part 1.
Therefore, a total of 46 racecourses received incentive payments from the Scheme as a whole.