HORSERACING: A SHARP rise in prize money has been announced by Warwick Racecourse as part of its quest to become one of the UK’s premier small jumps courses.
The Jockey Club course attracted a record number of racegoers through its turnstiles last year with attendances growing just short of 30 per cent.
Part of the reason behind the improved attendance figures has been the creation of the May Racing Carnival.
Incorporating three separate events – each with a different theme – the carnival’s final fixture, on May 25, is the concluding event of the season for the South-West region of the Jockey Club.
Prize money for the concluding raceday – named the Proudly Warwick Celebration Day – has been increased by close to £30,000 across the seven races.
The carnival’s three feature races, The Wigley Group Carnival Chase, The Close Brothers Birmingham Novices Chase, and the Feldon Dunsmore Robert Gold Handicap Hurdle will carry prize pots of £30,000, £15,000 and £12,000.
The new prize money is part of a £2.1 million year-on-year increase at the Jockey Club’s racecourses, which will see a budgeted increase of around £100,000 at Warwick.
In addition to boosting the Proudly Warwick prize pot, the course is also lifting its minimum prize values from £159,000 above the British Horseracing Authority’s minimum to £250,000.
Andre Klein, general manager at Warwick Racecourse, said developing the quality of racing is just as important as promoting the carnival itself.
He added: “One of the most important objectives we have is seeing Warwick recognised as a premier jumps course.
“The only way we can achieve this is stepping up the quality of the racing we stage at the track and the prize money we have on offer.
“We have some great race days – most notably Betfred Classic Chase Day and Betway Kingmaker Chase Day, however it makes sense to see the Carnival become a highlight from a racing perspective as well.
“Each event on the programme will be a perpetual trophy race and carry a new race handle linked in some way to the history of the course.
“We hope this will add a bit of interest and intrigue to the fixture, as the races get established over time.”