ARC, the UK’s largest racecourse group, has been severely criticised for its near £3million reduction in prize money and owners and trainers are looking to avoid running horses at ARC tracks.
The crisis developed after ARC, who run 18 of the UK’s 60 racecourses, announced last December it was cutting back prize money, due to their concerns about the reduction in FOBT (fixed odds betting terminals) income leading to a reduction in media rights income.
Dean Ivory: “Prize-money is disgusting and it was about time someone did something. It’s a shame we’ve had to do this and Arc must see it’s a last resort.
“We can’t keep sending bills to owners after they have a winner and they haven’t covered their month’s training fees. It makes racing look a laughing stock. Chelmsford is setting an example and makes us feel wanted.”
One of the yard’s major owners, Solario Racing, enjoyed great success last year with Spring Romance winning four times, all at ARC tracks (Wolverhampton, Lingfield and Windsor) but the recent decline in prize money at the lower end (Class 4, 5 and 6 races) has prompted a call to boycott entering Solario Racing horses at ARC meetings for the “foreseeable future.”
Solario Racing’s Racing Manager, Simon Double, is on the committee of the RSA, the Racehorse Syndicates Association which represents the interests of racehorse syndicators in Great Britain and their syndicate members. Currently its membership includes nearly 600 horses and over 4,500 owners:
“The Racehorse Syndicates Association fully backs the boycott of races at tracks offering derisory levels of prize-money. It is vital that this issue is properly addressed, as a matter of urgency.”
Tomorrow’s scheduled seven-race card at Lingfield which features the Winter Derby has been reduced to five with one race attracting no entries and another being a walk-over.