THE richest-ever The Press Family Raceday could become even richer.
The popular event, held at York Racecourse on Sunday, September 8, is already boasting a prize pool of £108,500 this year – but a new fund from the sport’s governing body could increase that.
The British Horseracing Authority has announced that Sunday racing is to receive extra investment as funds raised from the sale of leasehold fixtures to racecourses will be channelled into cash bonuses for winning connections.
The ‘Sunday Bonus Races’ will receive a boost of up to £5,000 a contest, with the authority planning to award the extra cash to two races each weekend.
The scheme, which has been developed with the Horsemen’s Group and the Racecourse Association, aims to improve competitiveness and field sizes in selected races across as many different racecourses as possible.
There are two Sunday fixtures on September 8, with York hosting their only Sabbath meeting of the year and Fontwell also in action.
Explaining the new fund, BHA director of racing Ruth Quinn said: “We are aware 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.”
Races at Musselburgh and Lingfield this Sunday are the first to benefit from the new scheme. The BHA will announce the scheduled bonus races on a quarterly basis, with York finding out later in the year whether one of their Sunday contests will be chosen.
Winning owners will receive either £1,000 or £3,150 from the bonus scheme depending on whether they are members of the Racehorse Owners Association. Winning trainers will receive a bonus of £675, jockeys £450 and stable staff £225.
James Brennan, head of marketing at York Racecourse, said of the Sunday meeting, which will already see the Listed Garrowby Stakes rise to £37,000 amid a card with no race worth less than £10,000: “We hope the Listed race is already for horses at the top of their game.
“It is part and parcel of the Sunday, as much as it introduces new racegoers to the sport, that there are some owners, trainers and jockeys, that we would not see at a Dante Festival, who can experience running in front of 20,000 people on a Group 1 stage.”
Added Brennan: “We are delighted to be at a level of £108,000 already.
“We have shown commitment to the day and, although £5,000 isn’t the same as it would be if you are running on a £40,000 day, it would be a welcome addition to recognising the role of connections.”