Record £1.7m on offer for QIPCO Guineas Festival
The Cesarewitch doubles in value to £500,000 and will increase to £1m by 2020 to boost Britain’s stayers programme
The 2018 Flat racing season at Newmarket Racecourses begins this month with prize money increasing by ten percent to £10.85 million.
This means the overall prize fund at the Home of Racing rises by £1 million over 2017, supported by valued sponsors and with investment from The Jockey Club.
The autumn programme - the Gold Season - on The Rowley Mile is strengthened considerably in terms of prize money, including the Group races on Juddmonte Day and The Cesarewitch. The first Classics of the season, the QIPCO 1000 and 2000 Guineas, as well as the Group 1 Darley July Cup run at the Moët & Chandon July Festival on the July Course, the Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile and the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes all maintain their individual prize sums of £500,000 each.
The QIPCO Guineas Festival, being held over the weekend of 5th and 6th May, is worth almost £1.7 million, which is a new record; the Dubai Future Champions Festival in October offers an aggregate total of over £2 million, while the average prize money per race across the entire 39-fixture programme is nearly £40,000.
£1m future for The Cesarewitch
In a major boost to Britain’s staying programme, prize money for The Cesarewitch, run in October and one of the biggest betting races of the year in Britain, doubles to £500,000 in 2018. This makes it the most valuable handicap race run in Europe, jointly with the Ebor at York Racecourse.
It was also confirmed today that the two mile and two furlong contest will increase in value by a further 50 percent, to £750,000 in 2019, and to £1 million a year later.
The changes to The Cesarewitch have been developed in partnership with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and a full range of industry stakeholders. This includes adjustments to the race conditions, ensuring the protection of the European Pattern for staying races, through the introduction of a ratings cap of 110 (BHA Official Ratings). Entry stakes will be 1.25 percent of prize money. All aspects have met with the approval of the industry’s Racing Group, whose members include representatives of the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and National Trainers’ Federation (NTF).
The Cesarewitch - named in honour of Tsesarevich Alexander, later Tsar Alexander II, after he donated £300 to The Jockey Club - is the second part of the famous ‘Autumn Double’ at The Rowley Mile and is a race with a history as long as the Randox Health Grand National, dating back to 1839.
Newmarket’s backing for the stayers’ programme is also reflected in an increase in prize money for the Bahrain Trophy, the Group 3 contest for three-year-olds run over one mile and five furlongs at the Moët & Chandon July Festival, with the fund increased by 50 percent to £150,000. By 2020 the race value will rise to £200,000.
At the Cambridgeshire Meeting in the last week of September, both the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes will offer prize money of £275,000 each, up from £200,000 each in 2017, while the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes will be worth £125,000. Overall, the prize fund for these three races – run on ‘Juddmonte Day’ - will have risen by almost 50 percent over the last two years, thanks to the support of Juddmonte Farms and continuing investment from The Jockey Club.
Newmarket’s standing in global racing is once again reflected in the two racecourses staging two of the world’s top races, according to International Federation of Horseracing Authority figures. In 2017, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas was rated as the world’s top three-year-old mile race while the Darley July Cup was jointly the globe’s premier sprint.
Newmarket Racecourses’ announcement is part of prize money increases across all 15 of The Jockey Club’s racecourses. The UK’s leading racecourse group is increasing its contribution to prize money by £4.2m to £27.1m in 2018, subject to abandonments. This will see total race values at its racecourses exceeding £53m – a rise of £8m on 2017.
Amy Starkey, Regional Director, Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said:
“We are delighted to announce that the total prize fund being competed for at Newmarket Racecourses during 2018 will be £10.85 million, a valuable ten percent increase on 2017.
“We are maintaining our investment in prize money for all our top races, while making a significant commitment to the racing industry’s support for stayers, including doubling prize money this year for The Cesarewitch which will ultimately become a £1 million race by 2020. We have also embraced the BHA’s Race Incentive Fund (RIF) and Appearance Money Schemes (AMS) for the Class 4 and 5 races that we stage, and have effectively invested in prize money across all race classes.
“We are looking forward to another tremendously exciting season of racing on both The Rowley Mile and the July Course, starting with the bet365 Craven Meeting this month which begins the story of the Flat season in Britain every year.”
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“The phased prize money boost to the Cesarewitch announced today creates a further sizable uplift in the value of the stayers’ programme and provides another significant incentive to keep staying horses in training here in Britain. Newmarket’s additional investment in this historic race re-iterates the commitment British Racing has shown to quality stayers. As a sport we want to stage world class racing and a £1m Cesarewitch from 2020 will provide another boost to our increasingly strong and valuable programme for stayers.”
Roger Charlton, who trained Withhold to win The Cesarewitch in 2017, said:
“I suspect that when Withhold won The Cesarewitch for me last autumn, he did so three years too soon! It is a great new initiative as it is very important that breeders are encouraged to not only breed sprinters but look at the longer term too, while owners are given the incentive to keep staying horses in training for longer instead of potentially selling them to continue their careers in Australia.”
Trainer Andrew Balding said:
“Trainers will always welcome the announcement of prize money increases but I am particularly enthused to hear about this additional support for the stayers’ programme. It is very exciting for trainers and owners alike, particularly for owners who are minded to have a staying horse in training, which is fundamentally important to the future of our sport.”
Trainer Michael Bell said:
“Any further boost to the prize money on offer within the staying division is always very welcome as it can only be to the benefit of the long term future of the thoroughbred.”
Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said:
“We very much welcome the announcement that 2018 prize money at Newmarket Racecourses has increased significantly. Owners will be particularly encouraged by the fact that, in addition to boosting prize funds for Newmarket’s flagship Group races and handicaps such as The Cesarewitch, The Jockey Club has invested in prize money across all race classes, which will benefit racing’s grassroots and offer rewards for owners from all tiers of the sport at the home of horseracing.”