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Ascot, Newmarket and York feature on a list of 27 British tracks to sign up to new agreements committing an agreed proportion of their income to prize money pots.

The Horsemen’s Group and the British Horseracing Authority are anticipating an uplift of almost STG5 million ($A8.73 million) in prize money contributions compared to 2013 should all tracks sign up.

The signing of Prize Money Agreements changes a racecourse’s contribution from a discretionary payment to a contractual minimum commitment between racecourses and horsemen.

“These are landmark agreements for the sport and we view their introduction as a welcome first step towards delivering improved returns for horsemen,” Philip Freedman, chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said.

“Until now a racecourse’s contribution to prize money has been totally discretionary and even though racecourse revenues have grown significantly in recent years, it has been left to them to decide how much should be passed on to the participants.

“We hope that they represent the start of a new era of collaboration and trust between the sport’s key stakeholders.”

“Should all courses sign agreements, this would increase racecourses’ contribution to prize money by around STG5 million in 2014.

“While this would obviously be a positive development, nobody should be in any doubt that there is still much to be done before British Racing offers levels of prize money that adequately finances an industry into which owners inject nearly STG500 million ($A873.13 million) every year.”

The six large independent courses – Ascot, Ayr, Chester, Goodwood, Newbury and York, – together with Bangor, Ffos Las, Hamilton, Kelso, Musselburgh, Perth and Salisbury have all signed up.

All the courses run by the Jockey Club, which include Cheltenham, Aintree and Newmarket, are also on board with the new agreement.

Paul Bittar, chief executive of the BHA has welcomed the announcement, but admits the deals alone will not end funding issues in the sport.

“Everyone in the sport recognises that the agreements, while being a significant step forward, will not on their own address the financial shortcomings in the funding of British racing.

“We will continue to press Government to address the deficiencies in the sport’s funding mechanism and ultimately progress the necessary changes in legislation.

“In addition, we continue to work constructively with the major betting firms to deliver enhanced yet commensurate financial support for the sport.”

 
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