Further horseracing prize money cut amid betting shop closures

By Nathan Joyes

Horseracing might be facing bleak times in regards to its financial future, with Pontefract becoming the latest track to announce forced prize money reductions.

The track has announced prize money has been cut by 11% in 2019, due to reduced maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals, leading to betting shop closures up and down the country.

Newmarket announced plans to double Cesarewitch prize money from £500,000 ($665,000) to £1m had been scrapped and in fact was being cut to £350,000.

Last week, trainers boycotted Lingfield’s Winter Derby Day due to the amount of prize money on offer. Lingfield is owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC), which has been criticised of late.

The company is responsible for the amount of prize money at certain UK tracks.

A boycott of ARC’s meetings at Fontwell and Lingfield is being planned across three days next week, which could potentially cost the company £300,000.

Pontefract Managing Director, Norman Gundill, said: "We’ve reduced our overall prize money budget from £1,318,000 to £1,167,900 but I stress this reduction is provisional because it’s much easier to increase prize money than reduce it and we intend to monitor the situation closely."

Rupert Arnold, Chairman of the National Trainers’ Federation, said: "It’s up to trainers to decide which races they want to run in. We won’t interfere in that, it’s their choice.”


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