|Wednesday 17th January 2024
Newbury & Leopardstown Receive Commercial Boost
Two of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom and Ireland have recently received a significant commercial boost.
Newbury’s recent decision to switch broadcasters from Racing TV to Sky Sports Racing has allowed them to significantly increase prize money for 2024.
The projected extra revenue garnered from media income has generated a 13 percent rise in prize money, meaning the Berkshire venue will pay out £7 million to owners this year.
The Game Spirit Chase and Denman Chase in February will increase by £15,000 to £85,000, while the Challow Hurdle in December will be run for £100,000.
The Lockinge Stakes on the flat is now a £400,000 race, while the Mill Reef Stakes and Hungerford Stakes will also be run for six-figure sums.
The increased prize money will impact races across the scale at Newbury, making the venue much more attractive to racehorse owners at all levels.
Julian Thick, chief executive of Newbury, said: “We have been able to make two successive years of significant advances in our prize money mainly due to our new media arrangements with Sky Sports Racing.
“It is well known there are significant headwinds facing racecourses and further prize money increases in years to come will be very much dependent on Newbury being able to navigate these.
“We also aim to create increased commercial returns through other trading activities such as growing attendances, that can then be shared with our industry partners.”
Eager not to mis out on delivering exciting news to the industry, Leopardstown has announced a major new partnership with one of the top law firms in Ireland ahead of the upcoming Dublin Racing Festival in February.
McCann FitzGerald LLP has become the new sponsor of the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle – a race which often provides useful form pointers for punters at the Cheltenham Festival.
The €150,000 contest always sparks a flurry of activity on the best Irish betting sites, both for the race itself and in the ante-post market for the Triumph Hurdle in March.
Recent winners of the prestigious Leopardstown event include Our Conor, Quilixios and Vauban, all of whom followed up by winning the juvenile championship race at Cheltenham.
Stephen Holst, Managing Partner McCann FitzGerald LLP, believes the firm’s sponsorship of the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown enhances the prestige of the race.
“The Irish horse racing industry is world renowned - a significant contributor to our economy and an important fabric of Irish society,” Holst said.
“The McCann FitzGerald Spring Juvenile Hurdle promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with some of world’s best names in horse racing taking to the track on February 3.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Leopardstown to lend our support to the growth of this vibrant industry.”
This year’s race at Leopardstown will likely be a hugely informative trial for the Triumph Hurdle, with several horses towards the head of the betting for that event set to take part.
They include Storm Heart and Bunting, both of whom have recorded impressive victories for top Irish trainer Willie Mullins this season.
It will be intriguing to see how they stack up against Burdett Road, who is rated as the top juvenile hurdler in the United Kingdom at the moment.
James Owen’s charge racked up impressive victories at Huntingdon and Cheltenham in November, forcing bookmakers to slash his odds to around 4/1 for the Triumph Hurdle.
Burdett Road won the Golden Gates Stakes Handicap at Royal Ascot last summer and is one of the classiest flat performers to head over jumps in recent years.
Wodhooh, Kala Conti and Intellotto are other noteworthy entries for a race which promises to be one of the highlights of the two-day meeting at Leopardstown.