In a development that is a notable boost to prize money levels, it was announced today that Racing’s stakeholders have supported the introduction of British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Race Values as of 1st January 2013. The level at which the 2013 BHA Race Values have been agreed by horsemen, racecourses and the BHA represents an increase of 12% compared to the 2012 race programme at Horsemen’s Group tariff rates.
In addition, the Levy Board and BHA re-affirmed their support for quality racing with confirmation of a £1.6m increase in the Levy Board’s Quality Support Fund for 2013. This brings the total of the fund to £6.5m. Racecourses will be incentivised to qualify for financial support for staging selected races identified as worthy of additional funding, with the aim of encouraging a horse’s progression through the race programme.
Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of BHA, said:
“I am delighted that we have succeeded in securing industry wide agreement for the introduction of BHA Race Values. This is a significant and positive development for all involved. Not only have the values been agreed at a level which represents an uplift of 12% against Horsemen’s Group tariffs, but, because unlike tariffs they form part of the Rules of Racing, BHA Race Values are enforceable.
“I would like to thank and congratulate all the parties involved with the negotiations. The BHA Race Values are intended to deliver a core race programme as well as to reward the sport’s participants to better effect. The aim is to deliver competitive and compelling racing and we hope these values will be integral to that. This agreement, developed by the BHA, is evidence that racing’s respective stakeholder interests are not mutually exclusive.”
Previously the BHA had applied ‘Minimum Values’ to races but these were dropped from Class 3 and below from 2011 as the returns from the Levy reduced sharply. Independently, the Horsemen’s Group then introduced their own prize money tariffs.
Alan Morcombe, Chief Executive of the Horsemen’s Group, said:
“The process undertaken to arrive at these figures has been open and constructive, with a number of meetings between ourselves, the BHA, RCA, Jockey Club Racecourses and ARC.
“Overall, the agreed Race Values fully reflect the increase in Levy Board funding in 2013 and we therefore consider their re-introduction as a positive development. We see this as the first step towards the establishment of prize money contracts with racecourses, preferably incorporated into the Rules of Racing, and we look forward to working with the BHA and racecourses to have such contracts in place by the beginning of 2014.
“I would also add that while we are encouraged by an overall uplift in Race Values of 12%, we remain particularly frustrated by the low level of prize money generally on offer on Sundays. This is an area that needs to be addressed and we look forward to continue working with all concerned on this front.”
Stephen Atkin, Chief Executive of the RCA, said:
“We very much welcome the introduction of BHA Race Values for 2013. Racecourses recognise that integral to British Racing’s economic health is a better return to owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff through prize money.
“Racecourses deserve credit for filling the void in prize money left by the notable decline in Levy income in recent years and we appreciated the opportunity to work with the BHA and the horsemen to agree on values so that the additional revenue due to be provided by the Levy can be directed into prize money.”
“We see the development of the core race programme as key to establishing a better match with the horse population, for the benefit of horsemen, racecourses and Racing’s customer base. This work would not have been possible without agreed race values. We look forward to working with the horsemen and BHA in our continuing discussions about prize money and associated areas.”
In relation to the news that the Quality Support Fund for 2013 has been increased from £4.9m to £6.5m, Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the BHA, said:
“Not only is the BHA committed to delivering improved returns to the sport’s participants, we are also determined to provide a balanced and meritocratic race programme that caters appropriately for the horse population, providing sufficient and attractive opportunities for horses to progress, particularly within Classes 1 – 4. Consequently, the increase in the Quality Support Fund is very welcome and will help us to protect the core race programme from further downgrading, and we expect racecourses to work with the BHA to deliver the optimal programme.
“We recognise that the small increase in the 2013 Fixture List could place some demands on the horse population but with the help of initiatives such as the Quality Support Fund it is our intention to create opportunities for higher rated horses to run more regularly.”
The Quality Support Fund was significantly increased in 2012 by the Levy Board with BHA support and promotes the staging of better class races and addresses the trend of downgrading within the race programme. The fund incentivises racecourses to stage certain types of races identified by the BHA Racing Department as important to the development of high class horses and reflective of the needs of the horse population. 1,642 races benefitted from the fund in 2012, thereby providing more opportunities and better returns in Class 1 – 4 races.
Douglas Erskine-Crum, Chief Executive of the Levy Board, said:
“The enhanced Quality Support Fund reflects the Levy Board’s commitment to the improvement of horseracing. The fund underpins an important race programme for higher class and developing horses. Overall we will be putting in over £11m extra into prize money in 2013. We welcome the introduction of BHA Race Values which will benefit everyone involved.”
Flat races identified as being suitable for help from the Quality Support Fund include Class 2, 3 and 4 handicaps, in particular three year old only and three year old plus handicaps in April, September, October and November. Three year old only staying handicaps will qualify for additional funding throughout the Flat turf season.
Meanwhile, over Jumps, it was felt important to offer a Quality Support Fund payment to existing Class 2 and 3 Handicaps in order to redress a degree of downgrading that has occurred. Other races set to benefit include Class 2 and 3 Novices’ Chases, Class 2 Graduation Chases and the Class 1 and 2 Mares’ races.