Arena Racecourse Company (ARC) has responded to threats of further boycotts from trainers over the cuts to prize-money contributions, by pointing out that the racing group will not be changing its position.
The group’s CEO, Martin Cruddace, was on hand at Lingfield this Saturday to observe the Betway Winter Derby card. The meeting had been reduced from seven to five races following a row between ARC and trainers after the racecourse group announced it would be slashing the prize-money for the novice races.
The races had previously been worth £5,800 in 2018, but this year, the races are now worth £4500.
The announced cuts follow Arc’s announcement in December 2018 that it ‘simply cannot continue’ its current contributions to prize-money. Cruddace revealed that Arc’s cuts to prize-money would have a knock-on effect for the company by denying the group over £4.5m of levy funding.
The racecourse group is currently preparing for its anticipated drop in income as a result of projected shop closures due to FOBT legislation. The new legislation, due to come into play in April, is set to have an impact upon media rights payment.
Following the protests from trainors due to attend the Lingfield meeting, Cruddace was adamant that Arc’s position would not change. He said: “We are braced for further action because we’ve heard rumours and we’ve got intelligence, but we’ll deal with it as and when. It will not achieve its purpose – of that I can 100 per cent assure you.”
Negotiations are still ongoing between the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the National Trainers Federation, the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and Racecourse Association to find a solution to the prize-money situation.
Cruddace has expressed hope that a solution, which would release the £4.5m to Arc for its lower class races, would be found. However, Cruddace has confirmed that the racecourse group would not be contributing £2.7m of its own funds which is required to release the allocated funds.