Tuesday 13th December 2011

Agreement Reached on Funding for Quality Racing for 2012

The Levy Board’s contribution to prize money will rise by £4.2m as part of an overall increase in expenditure of £5m.

The development of the optimal Flat race programme, increased prize money values for certain higher-quality Flat races and providing more opportunities for Jump horses of above average ability are at the heart of the Levy Board’s additional prize money contribution in 2012.

These objectives will be addressed in 2012 by:

• A substantially enhanced Quality Support Fund (QSF), which will increase in value by £3.2m from £1.7m to £4.9m. The allocation of the original £1.7m will be similar to 2011 and the details of the increase by £3.2m are shown below.

• A special incentive fund providing support for additional races, fixtures or incentives of £500,000.

• An allocation to ensure competitive, valuable handicaps for higher quality horses on weak Saturdays on terrestrial television of £300,000.

• Additional provision to the Divided Race Fund to ensure that each division of a race is run to its originally advertised value.

The remainder of this press release concerns the QSF.

The detailed allocation of the QSF has been agreed by senior executives of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Horsemen’s Group, Racecourse Association (RCA), Bookmakers’ Committee and Levy Board.

Racecourses which stage specified higher-quality races will be eligible for a payment from the Levy Board ranging from £500 to £16,000 depending on the race type and class. Each racecourse is required to pay in prize money over the whole of 2012 the total amount contributed by the Board from the QSF, while at least maintaining its own contribution to prize money.

Levy Board Chief Executive Douglas Erskine-Crum said:
“This is the first time that this grouping of senior executives from Racing, Betting and the Levy Board has come together in this forum to agree on the detailed distribution of Levy Board funds. We are very pleased that speedy agreement has been reached on how this important fund will work in 2012. Encouraging racecourses to stage a more balanced race programme overall, particularly on the Flat, should benefit Levy yield through more attractive races and better utilisation of the horse population.”

BHA Director of Racing Ruth Quinn said:
“The chance to make best use of £4.9m can certainly have a direct and positive impact on the race programme. As we have mentioned a number of times throughout this year, we have seen a significant imbalance in the Flat programme develop with a marked downgrading of races. This enhanced Quality Support Fund will certainly help us all to address that problem. The noticeable decrease in the number of opportunities available in the higher-classes, at the expense of an over-supply of lower grade races, has been a serious frustration for many people this year, not least those in the Racing Department at BHA. This fund will enable us to assist those racecourses who have continued to offer Flat races in Class 2, 3 and 4, as well as helping us to fill the gaps that have developed throughout the Flat Season for Class 2 and 3 horses. The Jump programme is generally in a far healthier state but we will also be looking to help racecourses finance some new races in Class 2 and 3 for 2012. This whole exercise therefore is a hugely welcome opportunity and the respective representatives of BHA, Levy Board, RCA, Horsemen's Group and the Bookmakers’ Committee have worked quickly to agree the expenditure details for this enormously beneficial project.”

Racecourse Association Chief Executive Stephen Atkin said:
“When the RCA requested a delay in the Fixture List in September, it was with the intention that sufficient extra money would become available to improve the balance of the race programme. The increased Quality Support Fund will help in significant measure to achieve this.”
Horsemen’s Group Chief Executive Alan Morcombe said:
“The Horsemen’s Group is pleased to note that the Levy Board has increased its contribution to prize money. Throughout the allocation process the Levy Board executive has been very helpful in ensuring that that the funds were directed where they were most needed and in protecting the current contribution made to prize money by racecourses from their own income. The concept of an enhanced QSF is welcomed and will ensure that quality racing is protected across the race programme”.

Ladbrokes’ Business Director Mike O’Kane said:
“I welcome the work that has gone into agreeing how Levy funds can be used to strengthen the race programme. The targeting of additional support to the identified races will help to improve the attractiveness of those races, thereby the number of runners and future Levy generation. We will be monitoring the success of the expenditure and am looking forward to working with the Levy Board through the Betting Patterns Working Party on further initiatives during 2012 and 2013.”


1. Each participating racecourse will undertake that its own total executive and sponsorship contribution to prize money in 2012 will be no less than its contribution in 2010 or 2011, whichever is the higher (after taking account of abandonments in both years). Each participating racecourse will also not make downgrades to its existing programme of races compared with 2011 unless the number of any such downgrades is considered negligible or the downgrades have the support of the BHA.

2. It has also been agreed that HBLB will only issue QSF payments for eligible races where the advertised prize money complies with the Horsemen’s Group 2011 Tariff Band 1 (for races staged Monday to Friday) and Tariff 2011 Band 3 (for races staged on Saturday, Sunday and at Festival meetings).

3. The Levy Board will adopt a flexible approach in considering approaches from racecourses or racecourse groups which may believe that their particular circumstances should mean that exemptions should apply from the commitments required in order to receive sums from the QSF.

4. The additional £3.2m in the QSF in 2012 will be apportioned as follows:

Race Type Allocation
TOTAL £3,200,000
Flat races – Class 2, 3 and 4 £1,700,000
Flat races - Black Type £700,000
Jump races £500,000
AWT spring programme £30,000
To be allocated £270,000