- Boosts agreed to minimum values of upper- and middle-tier Flat races to support the retention of higher-rated horses in Britain
- Similar increases agreed for top Jumps contests, with minimum values also lifted in lower-grade races across both codes
- Racing’s leaders continuing work on industry strategy addressing issues including prize-money, fixture list and race competitiveness
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE BRITISH HORSERACING AUTHORITY (BHA) RACECOURSE ASSOCIATION (RCA) AND THE THOROUGHBRED GROUP (TG)
The British Horseracing Authority has today published the full Fixture List for 2023 on behalf of the tripartite governance structure of British racing.
Coinciding with the release of the new Fixture List, the sport’s leaders have agreed to a series of minimum race value increases across both codes, with the focus on three key areas:
- To support the international competitiveness of prize money in Black Type races both on the Flat and over Jumps;
- To increase prize money levels in Class 2 and 3 handicaps with the aim of improving the retention of higher-rated horses in Britain, with equivalent Jump races also boosted; and;
- To enhance prize money values at the lower levels, with the appearance money scheme to be replaced by a £700 increase to minimum values in handicaps and classified stakes.
The changes agreed for minimum values, which will apply from 1st January 2023, are listed below:
Upper and Middle Tiers
|Group 1 – 2yo||£150,000||£200,000||£50,000|
|Group 1 – 3yo+||£200,000||£250,000||£50,000|
|Group 2 – 2yo||£65,000||£80,000||£15,000|
|Group 2 – 3yo+||£90,000||£100,000||£10,000|
|2 Handicaps – 3yo+||£19,000||£25,000||£6,000|
|2 Handicaps – 2yo||£14,000||£18,000||£4,000|
|3 Handicaps – 3yo+||£11,500||£15,000||£3,500|
|3 Handicaps – 2yo||£10,000||£13,000||£3,000|
|4 Handicaps – 3yo+||£8,050||£8,750||£700|
|4 Handicaps – 2yo||£6,900||£7,600||£700|
|5 Handicaps – all||£5,300||£6,000||£700|
|6 Handicaps – all||£4,300||£5,000||£700|
Upper and Middle Tiers
|2 Handicaps with rating band – Chase||£18,500||£22,500||£4,000|
|2 Handicaps with rating band – Hurdle||£15,000||£18,500||£3,500|
It has also been agreed that there will be no novice or maiden races programmed at Class 6 on Flat and Class 5 over Jumps. This will mean that these races will only be permitted with prize money of at least £5,300 (Flat), £5,800 (Hurdle) and £6,600 (Chase).
Appearance Money Scheme
Following a review of the current Appearance Money Scheme and its effectiveness, as well as some existing confusion among participants about when they are receiving appearance money, it has been agreed that the Scheme should close. Minimum prize money levels for the races that previously received prize money will be increased by £700, with prize money always paid to at least fifth place.
A proposal for a reduced Appearance Money Scheme to support the additional costs of having runners on Sundays will be presented to the Horserace Betting Levy Board in September.
While the size and shape of the 2023 Fixture List is broadly similar to that of 2022, with a total of 1,478 fixtures scheduled, the sport’s leaders have agreed that a key focus within the recently announced industry strategy relates to how future fixture lists can grow the appeal of racing to its customers.
Notable changes to the 2023 fixture list include the creation of a new fixture at Aintree on Boxing Day and the St Leger Festival to be run from Thursday 7th September to Sunday 10th September. In addition, various customer-friendly fixture initiatives, as well as others to support those servicing the fixture list, have been agreed for 2023, including:
- To reduce fixture congestion, and in light of the Levy Board’s decision to fund a maximum of four afternoon fixtures on Saturdays in 2023, there will be a maximum of five fixtures on any Saturday afternoon and, where the BHA has agreed to allocate a fifth fixture, the total prize money at that fifth fixture must be at least £150,000;
- There are four code breaks to support the participants involved in staging fixtures:
- Flat – 5 days (19 March – 23 March)
- Jump – 4 days (2 May – 5 May) *excludes Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening
- Jump – 12 days (7 August – 18 August)
- Flat – 8 days (26 November – 4 December)
- The extended November break has been moved later in the month to avoid the international football window, during which fixtures can attract additional wagering
- The use of rider restricted fixtures has also enabled the code breaks to be increased for the busiest riders during the March Flat break, August Jump break and November/December Flat break, extending by a day in each case. A rider restricted fixture is also planned for Lingfield Park on Saturday 23rd December to give the busiest Flat riders an extra day off over the Christmas period, ahead of racing resuming on Boxing Day;
- Following successful trials, the staging of two floodlit fixtures elsewhere during each day of the Cheltenham Festival, whilst afternoon all-weather fixtures in the Christmas period will become floodlit fixtures, thereby opening new betting sessions from the 27th December to 30th December.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said:
“At a time when the sport is facing a number of challenges, it is particularly important that industry agreement has been reached on raising minimum prize money values. Owners have always been incredibly loyal in their support of British racing, but we are experiencing a significant growth in the number of higher rated horses being sold overseas and, over Jumps, an increasing number of the best horses being based elsewhere.
“Total prize money will reach record levels this year but, as we enter the yearling sales season, when many owners are making their plans for next year, it is vital that we have been able to announce further steps forward in the guise of increased minimum values for 2023.
“Although the 2023 fixture list includes a number of initiatives, it is similar in size and shape to previous years. With work on the Industry Strategy underway, a key area of focus is to ensure that future fixture lists can help grow the appeal of racing to our customers, both existing and new. This will involve delivering a consistently attractive and competitive sport to racegoers, bettors and general racing fans, whilst, of course, taking account of the impact on those who service the fixture list and make it all happen. All of that will require change and the strategic work provides the ideal platform to set our future direction.”
Charlie Liverton, CEO of the Racehorse Owners Association, said:
“I believe this is really positive progress for the industry as a whole. It has been a time-consuming and meticulous process getting to this point, however this is an example of a truly collaborative effort, taking into consideration the interests of the multiple stakeholders representing British racing.
“Prize money in the UK has been a major concern for many owners for a number of years and I am pleased that we were able to find a way forward to increase minimum prize money levels and deliver a simplified model across both codes. I appreciate there have been no radical changes to the fixture list and this will continue to be reviewed with discussions starting shortly on an industry wide strategy.
“Clearly the focus needs to be on the size and shape of the fixture list and prize money. As a sport, it is important that we deliver demonstrable progress and a race programme which meets the needs of the horse population, whilst delivering an economically viable model to enhance and protect the future of British racing.”
David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, said:
“I would like to thank the BHA and the Industry Fixtures & Funding Group for their significant efforts over the past seven months. A number of important initiatives have been agreed during that time, including significant increases in minimum values for many races at all Classes, reducing fixture congestion on Saturday afternoons and the replacement of the Appearance Money Scheme with targeted direct funding.
“Many race types will have significantly increased minimum values in 2023 across the full range of the programme, with increases in those categories affected being almost 25% on average. Against this backdrop, we look forward to the upcoming industry strategy discussions starting in September, which will aim to accelerate the growth of the sport.”
Notes to editors:
2. Four fixtures have been provisionally allocated, pending confirmation of the continuation of the Sunday Series in 2023. These fixtures are not included within the published fixture list at this stage but will be added once the Sunday Series is confirmed for next year.
3. Racing League fixtures for 2023 will be considered at the end of this year’s Racing League in mid-September. These fixtures are not included within the published fixture list at this stage.
4. The breakdown of the 2023 Fixture List shown by code and session is provided below, together with comparative numbers for each of the past five years:
5. Rider restricted meetings are intended to help extend the formal code breaks for the busiest jockeys by restricting the eligibility of jockeys able to ride at relevant fixtures either just before or just after the published dates of the code breaks. The restriction will limit who can ride on these days based on number of winners, as agreed with the PJA, intending to offer an additional opportunity for those jockeys who have had the least winners, but extending the break for those who have been the busiest on these metrics and would not be eligible to ride.
6. Figures for Horses in Training in Britain can be found here.