No runners declared for race at Newbury as prize money criticised

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No runners have been declared for a race at Newbury on Saturday for which the prize money has been called “derisory” by one trainer.

The 10-furlong race has a prize money fund of £6,500.

Newbury said on the lack of runners that it was “hard to imagine this isn’t a concerted action” for a race which had 13 entries but no declarations.

But trainer Ralph Beckett said: “£6,500 for a novice race at a Grade One track on a Saturday is a disgrace.”

Beckett, president of the National Trainers’ Federation, has decided to run his horse elsewhere.

He added: “Furthermore, when the race conditions were published a month ago, it was published at £5,300. It was only upped on Monday and that was too little, too late.

“Horsemen are independent people and are fed up with the derisory prize money on offer in general – and in this instance, they decided to vote with their feet.”

The card’s feature race, the Super Sprint Stakes at 15.30 BST, has £200,000 in prize money.

“It’s particularly disappointing for our racegoers to only have six races to enjoy on Saturday afternoon with over £400,000 of prize money on offer,” said Julian Thick, chief executive of Newbury Racecourse.

“We have to run the racecourse on a sustainable basis and we have committed to return to overall 2019 prize money levels this year, despite having lost £2.4m in 2020 and barely breaking even last year as a result of Covid.

“With all the revenue uncertainty and the rising cost pressures racecourses are facing at this current time, we believe that’s a substantial commitment by our shareholders.

“Looking at our forecast for 2022, we will be putting up £2.5m in executive contribution to prize money this year, which is the largest amount the racecourse has ever committed to.”

He added: “Given this background, it’s disappointing this has happened and at a time when the industry needs to pull together.”

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