The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today announced that Sunday racing will benefit from a major boost as funds raised by the sale of leasehold fixtures to racecourses will be diverted into cash bonuses for winning connections.
These “Sunday Bonus Races” will receive a bonus of up to £5,000 per race, with the aim being that two races each weekend receive the bonus.
The scheme, developed in conjunction with the Horsemen’s Group (HG) and Racecourse Association (RCA), has the objective of improving competitiveness and field sizes in selected Sunday races across as many different racecourses as possible.
BHA Director of Racing Ruth Quinn said:
“We are delighted that the proposal to use the BHA Development Fund to offer a further boost to Sunday racing has been approved by the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association.
“We are aware that Sunday racing often produces less competitive field sizes and that there are additional costs for Horsemen associated with racing on a Sunday. This scheme forms part of a wider plan to trial ways in which Sunday racing can be improved.”
The initiative will begin on Sunday 3rd February, with races from Musselburgh and Lingfield Park benefiting from the £5,000 bonus.
The scheme has been developed in a manner that is intended to drive registrations for two of the industry’s key representative bodies – the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA). For both owners and breeders of successful horses the return received from the bonus is greater if they are members of the respective organisations.
The initiative is funded by the application process for racecourses bidding for BHA leasehold fixtures, as all successful applicants are required as part of the process to pay £5,000 for each leasehold fixture into a Development Fund.
There are 103 leasehold fixtures allocated in the 2013 fixture list, which means there is a potential total bonus fund of £515,000. However, should a leasehold fixture be cancelled the racecourse’s £5,000 contribution to the fund is returned, and as such the final total bonus fund, and therefore the number of bonus races, will be dependent on the number of leasehold fixtures actually staged.
Richard Wayman, Chief Executive of the ROA, added:
“The Sunday Bonus Races are a welcome first step in addressing the current shortage of investment in the Sunday racing programme. With owners and trainers bearing additional costs on Sundays, the payments will provide a much needed financial incentive that should help to create more competitive and interesting races every week. It is an important feature of the scheme that all horsemen associated with a winning horse will benefit, as is the fact that the payment structure will provide another reason for more owners and breeders to get involved with the representative bodies that exist to promote their interests.”