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ASCOT’S prize money for 2018 has been boosted to a record £13,452,000 thanks to a 10 per cent increase that adds £1.2 million to stake money this year.
The increase applies to 25 race days – including Royal Ascot where prize money has been increased to £7,305,000 from £6,665,000 last year – but excludes the industry-owned QIPCO British Champions Day.
No race at Royal Ascot will now be worth less than £90,000 and Group 1 prize money will now start at £500,000, up from £400,000 last year. Another major beneficiary is the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) which is also up £100,000 to a record £1,250,000.
“Our total prize money this year is over £13 million for the first time, with Royal Ascot well over £7 million, which are important milestones,” Nick Smith, director of racing at Ascot Racecourse, said.
“Royal Ascot prize money has increased 62% since 2012 (£4.5 million), with the annual programme having increased 46% in that period (2012: £9.3 million).
“This has been important in terms of maintaining the international appeal of Royal Ascot and the King George and in terms of appropriately funding the rapid development of the racing programme in recent years, headlined by the inauguration of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup in 2015 and the elevation of the Queen’s Vase to Group 2 last year, both with excellent results.
“We are delighted to be beginning the year by running Saturday’s Grade 1 Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase for £150,000; an increase of £25,000. At our February meeting, the 3-mile Keltbray Swinley Limited Handicap Chase over three miles is up £30,000 to £75,000.”
Ascot chief executive, Guy Henderson, added. “Under our statutory racing trust, all of Ascot’s returns are invested for the benefit of horsemen, our racegoers and off course followers, both in the UK and internationally.
“In order to continue to attract the best horses to run at Ascot, and with the Royal Meeting a shop window for international investment in British racing, it is important that we offer as competitive prize money as we can, particularly at the high end.
“It is therefore pleasing to be able to announce, through balanced progress, that Ascot is able to offer record prize money alongside our other investments and continuing to reduce our Grandstand debt on schedule.”
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