Leading bookmakers back Sunday Series

By Peter Lynch

Both bookmakers and racecourses have backed the Sky Bet Sunday Series to bring in more money for the industry through betting.

Despite the decrease in overall prize money and bonuses for owners and jockeys, the Sunday race days proved popular with punters last summer following rearrangements of fixture lists amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But several within the industry believe that the Sunday meetings will prove hugely beneficial for the sport, with such meetings having the potential to bring increased spectator interest and betting uplift to racing.

Overall prize money for the three fixtures stands at £600,000 (US$825,000), with £200,000 in bonuses for owners and jockeys, largely due to the day the races are being staged, as well as the late afternoon start times.

But James Knight, Director of Racing Trading at Entain, owner of Coral and Ladbrokes, believes the high-quality racing works well for all involved.

“Last year it was a different situation but it worked having good racing on television on Sunday – it works for betting and it works for punters,” said Knight.

“We have regular meetings with racing where betting data is shared and it's clear that if you put on better quality racing that is appealing and competitive on these days then it works well.”

The series begins next weekend at Musselburgh, followed by Haydock and Sandown on 8 August and 22 August respectively.

Christopher Hudson, President of the British Racecourse Bookmakers' Association, added: “Any extra money for racing is a great bonus and if it gets more people to the races on a Sunday that may not otherwise have gone, it can only be good for those that work there.”

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