Prize-money at Huntingdon Racecourse is to increase to nearly £750,000 in 2013 – rising by an average of almost 40% per fixture and 80% overall from 2012.
The investment by The Jockey Club – the owners of the Cambridgeshire jump racing track – is part of a £5 million increase across its group of racecourses which includes Newmarket, Aintree and Cheltenham.
There will be a total prize fund of £724,950 at Huntingdon Racecourse this year for its 18 fixtures compared to under £400,000 in 2012, a figure that reflects a number of abandoned meetings before Christmas and on Boxing Day.
Sophie Able, the racecourse’s general manager who will shortly become the head of sales in the eastern region of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We are delighted to be putting so much extra money into prize funds in 2013. The aim is to attract even classier horses to Huntingdon Racecourse during the year which will make more of a spectacle for our visitors.
“The difference between racecourses run by The Jockey Club and others is that we plough our profits back into the sport. There is a particular focus in 2013 in creating feature midweek meetings built around a very valuable race.
“Quality horse racing is vital to the future health of our sport and that’s what Huntingdon Racecourse will be offering next year at 18 fixtures.”
The racecourse is busy during the opening months of the year with fixtures on Friday January 11 and 25 and on Thursday February 7 and 21. The races include a number of key Cheltenham Festival trials – the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle, the Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle and the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle.
Although the racecourse was disappointed to lose both its Betfred Peterborough Chase day and Boxing Day fixtures during December, a piece of good news was an award from horse racing’s spectators.
The accolade came from the keenest followers of the sport – the members of the Racegoers Club of Great Britain – who chose Huntingdon as one of the top six smaller racecourses in Britain.
The club divides its annual racecourse awards into six regions – and Huntingdon has been named ‘Best Small Racecourse’ in the South Midlands & East Anglia. The racecourse also won the award in 2011.
Sophie Able said: “We’re thrilled to have been given this award again by the most regular visitors to racecourses in Britain.”
The Racegoers Club (www.racegoersclub.co.uk), which has 6,000 members nationwide, is designed specifically to benefit racegoers, mainly through an admission concession scheme, and is supported by every British racecourse.