The era of prosperity within British Racing continued in 2005, with the sport making further progress and maintaining its popularity with the public despite the uncertainty caused by unforeseen legal setbacks.
Total prize money, at £99.3m, fell just short of 2004’s landmark of over £100m, but remained significantly more than the £94m of 2003 and the £84.2m three years ago. Raceday attendances just shy of 6m, while again fractionally down on 2004’s all-time record, were still the third-highest ever achieved.
Both these figures are notable achievements given the unavoidable spending cuts forced on BHB during 2005 – which had put over £7m directly into prize money in 2004 – and the temporary closure of Ascot, which had attracted over half a million racegoers the year before last.
In a clear indication of the sport’s underlying strength, 2005 saw records in:
• Horses in training (14,577 compared to 14,129, a rise of 3.2%)
• Owners with a horse in training (9,366 compared to 9,266, a rise of 1.1%)
• Fixtures staged (1,300 compared to 1,299 a rise of 0.1%)
• Races run (8,588 compared to 8,577, a rise of 0.1%)
• Runners (94,659 compared to 92,761, a rise of 2%)
BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said: “Twelve months ago I said that British Racing was well placed to meet the challenges ahead, and so it has proved. Despite well-documented legal setbacks in 2005, and their knock-on financial effects, the sport remains a success story, and in robust health.
“British Racing has never been more popular – it is second only to football in spectator numbers and television viewers – and credit for the continued progress is due to all those who participate in and contribute to the sport.
“There are numerous reasons to believe we can go on to greater success in 2006. We have record levels of investment in the sport, both in terms of racehorse owners and our racecourses: all those with a passion for racing cannot wait for Ascot’s reopening later this year, and this year will also see a new All Weather Track launched at Kempton Park, and also Great Leighs, the first course in Britain for over 75 years, open for business.”
1. 2000-2005 comparative figures are shown below.
2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
Prize Money (£)
99,320,951 101,309,953 94,149,963 84,203,203 71,662,045 71,690,306
5,896,992 6,047,226 6,019,481 5,557,758 4,886,293 5,164,061
Horses In Training
14,577 14,129 13,288 12,986 13,310 12,731
Owners With A Horse In Training
9,366 9,266 8,949 8,899 9,165 8,862
Number of Fixtures Staged
1,300 1,299 1,220 1,158 1,065 1,132
Number of Races Run
8,588 8,577 8,028 7,691 7,141 7,422
The breakdown of prize money in 2005 was:
Prize Fund 98,574,091
Owners’ Premiums 446,860
Order of Merit 300,000
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY 99,320,951