Ascot Racecourse has confirmed a £765,000 increase in prize money available at Royal Ascot 2020, making the total prize money available £8,095,000.
Of the 30 races taking place at the royal meeting, 16 will see an increase in prize money, with no race due to be run for less than £95,000 in 2020 – a £5,000 increase from 2019.
Guy Henderson, CEO, Ascot Racecourse, said: “Royal Ascot plays an important role for the industry in maintaining international investment in British racing. The progress we have made with our international commercial rights, our debt financing programme and our business as a whole means that we are now able to start to implement our long held aspiration to increase the prize fund for our flagship and internationally relevant Group One races at Royal Ascot to £1million, beginning with the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
“These two races, which historically appeal to international horsemen, have been selected first as being likely to produce increased income from overseas betting and associated media/data rights. Equally, there are so many six, and now seven figure races staged around the world over these distances that we must be conscious of options open to our own locally trained star horses.
“The UK LBO media rights landscape and levy picture remains very challenging which makes it difficult to plan beyond 2020.”
Total prize money at Ascot next year, excluding the industry owned QIPCO British Champions Day, will be £14.4m, an increase of £819,000. And for the first time, the Royal Meeting will play host to two £1 million races; The Prince of Wales’s Stakes will have prize money ranging from £750,000 and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes ranging from £600,000.
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot, added: “It is vitally important to continue to incentivise and reward connections of top-class horses trained at home, in Europe and further afield to run in Britain.
“A recent report commissioned by British Racing’s Public Affairs Group, titled British Horseracing’s International Influence, highlighted how important events like Royal Ascot are to the brand and resonance of British racing.
“It is a significant factor in creating demand at the sales, attracting sponsorship, investment in studs and horses in training, growing global television coverage, creating worldwide betting initiatives (like World Pool with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and UK Tote in 2019) and opening up opportunities for inward investment in our sport.
“Ascot is very fortunate to have such a strong annual programme, with nine Group One races outside QIPCO British Champions Day, and we are committed to making them as appealing as possible to horsemen from across the globe.”
Ruth Quinn, the BHA’s Director of International Racing and Racing Development, added: “Royal Ascot showcases the best of British racing to its widest international audience. The meeting plays an important part in attracting owners from across the globe to run horses here from overseas bases or to have horses in training in Great Britain.
“Continuing to attract horses of the very highest quality is vitally important to our future status in the Pattern and to maintaining British racing’s position at the forefront of the international stage.
“We must not be complacent about our Group 1 races in what has never been a more challenging and competitive global sport, and this increased investment from Ascot is very welcome news.”