Prize money at Huntingdon Racecourse is to rise to a record amount of just under £1,192,200 in 2018, the first time it has exceeded seven figures.
That represents an increase of 25 per cent over the prize fund offered during 2017. The new total is spread over 19 fixtures during the year, up from £951,900.
It comes as the Cambridgeshire racecourse’s parent group, The Jockey Club, announced a record contribution from its own resources to prize money this year. The Group, which includes Newmarket Racecourses, is increasing its contribution by £4.2 million to £27.1 million next year. This means total race values will be £53 million – a rise of £8 million on 2017.
Liam Johnson, general ,anager at Huntingdon Racecourse, said: “This is fantastic for Huntingdon Racecourse, as it is for all racecourses within The Jockey Club, as we endeavour to attract the highest quality horses that we can to Cambridgeshire for our spectators to watch. We pride ourselves in supporting all levels of racing and this increase in prize money will benefit everyone.”
The Jockey Club’s 348 racing fixtures in 2018 – which include the likes of the Cheltenham Festival, Randox Health Grand National Festival, the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket and the Investec Derby Festival – will offer, on average, record total race values of £153,000 per fixture, up from a previous record £133,000 in 2017.
Since 2010, The Jockey Club will have more than doubled its annual contribution to British racing’s prize money from its own resources on the back of its people working hard to drive commercial growth to afford this. Governed by Royal Charter, The Jockey Club’s mission is to act for the long-term good of British racing, which includes reinvesting all its profits back into the sport.
Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “This is The Jockey Club’s largest ever commitment to horsemen and we really hope that will also translate into good news for racing fans alike. I’m very proud of our people who have worked hard to achieve the commercial results we need to be able to offer this.
“Because we already put all of our money back into the sport, we can only increase our prize money contribution if we create the commercial returns to do so.
“Some people might think that our prize money is all about the highest race classes or at one or two racecourses, but these figures demonstrate another step forward in our commitment to supporting British racing at all levels.”
The first fixture of 2018 at Huntingdon Racecourse is on Friday, 12th January, when the feature race is the £25,000 Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle.
The entire card is sponsored by Smarkets, the betting exchange which is becoming a major supporter of races at the venues of Jockey Club Racecourses in 2018. Thirty-five fixtures are covered by the new partnership, with backing for some 240 races.
The business, which is the shirt sponsor of Queens Park Rangers football club, was named last year as the 25th fastest-growing company in Europe in the inaugural FT1000 ranking and this is its first venture into racing.
Huntingdon Racecourse signed off 2017 with a bumper crowd approaching 6,000 spectators on Boxing Day. On Friday, 12th January the first race is off at 1.30pm, with the closing contest at 4pm.
Main Enclosure admission for adults is £10 when purchased in advance – it’s £15 on the day. Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge. Tickets can be purchased at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk or on 0844 579 3007. Young adults aged 18 to 24 years can also get half price entry by registering with The Jockey Club’s RacePass18to24.co.uk.