Major meetings at Doncaster and Chepstow targeted at first.
Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) can today announce details of increases to prize money contributions to the St Leger Festival meeting at Doncaster and the Jumps Season Opener at Chepstow in October.
The four-day St Leger Festival, scheduled to take place between 8 and 11 September 2021 will see a further £250,000 invested into the programme, against 2019 race values. This increase was scheduled to take place in 2020, but was paused ahead of the impact of restrictions on spectators and attendees on British racing. These increases will be in place for the 2021 St Leger Festival, and beyond.
As a result, all Group 2’s run across the four days will be worth at least £100,000, as well as investment across the Festival’s programme of Handicap races. The Mallard Stakes (Friday) will be run at £50,000 (from £40,000) and the Portland Handicap (Saturday) will be run at £75,000 (from £60,000). The two handicap races run on St Leger Day over 1m and 1m 4f will have had their rating bands removed, to become Open Handicaps, both worth £50,000 from £25,000 and £20,000 respectively.
October’s Jumps Season Opener at Chepstow will see an increase of over £120,000 across the two-day meeting. The Unibet Persian War Novices Hurdle will be increased to £50,000 and the meeting’s feature race, The Silver Trophy, will be run for £75,000. In addition, the Listed Novices Chase run on the Saturday of the meeting will also be increased to £40,000, and the 2m 3f Open Handicap Chase will be run for £50,000, with the aim of creating an exciting supporting race for the Silver Trophy.
More generally, and following the confirmation of the redistribution of placed prize money in March 2021, ARC will commit to further support for Maiden races across the flat race programme to ensure that any Class 5 three-year-old or 3+ Maiden or Novice race will have a value to the winner of £3,000 or above.
Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division, Mark Spincer said, “We are pleased to be able to make this commitment to both the St Leger Festival at Doncaster and Chepstow’s Jumps Season Opener.”
“The impact of the pandemic sadly meant that we were not in a position to implement the changes that we had been planned for 2020, but we are pleased to be able to strengthen the investment, particularly in the Handicap programme, across the four days at Doncaster from this year.”
“Chepstow’s two-day Jumps Season Opener in October has really thrived since moving to a Friday and Saturday meeting. We hope that by further strengthening some of the key races at the meeting, we can really help establish it amongst the premier fixtures in the British jumping calendar and offer fans of National Hunt racing a real highlight at the beginning of the season.”
“The industry needs this injection of positive news and as we get more certainty on the much needed return of spectators, we hope to make further positive announcements in due course.”