Newbury: no runners entered for the final race of the course on Saturday's Supersprint map

Newbury prize money boycott after intervention by prominent Newmarket trainer | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Newbury: no runners entered for the final race of the course on Saturday’s Supersprint map

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By Peter Scargil

Anger at the prize money on offer at Newbury has prompted trainers to boycott a race for the first time in more than three years after no horses were entered for the final competition, which is due to take place on Saturday in front of a near-sell-out crowd.

While trainers on Thursday did not confirm a collective decision had been taken to embarrass Newbury by not declaring any of the 13 entries for a 1m2f novice for mares three years and older, the circuit managing director Julian Thick said it is “It is disappointing that this has happened at a time when the industry needs to pull together.”

The Racecourse Association (RCA) added that the apparent action “poorly reflects British racing” and threatened to “seriously jeopardize” progress and collaboration around the industry’s ongoing governance review.

National Trainers Federation (NTF) President Ralph Beckett and Roger Varian both confirmed that they had made the decision not to run their horses due to the £6,500 prize fund on offer. The winning prize of £3,510 is the second lowest offered for a Grade 5 girls’ competition this year.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Ralph Beckett: Trainer pointed out bad prize money on Thursday morning

Ralph Beckett: Trainer pointed out bad prize money on Thursday morning

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

The Racing Post understands that trainers with horses entered for the race were contacted by a prominent Newmarket handler to ask if they would consider not declaring due to the purse strings, but Beckett insisted that the final decision was made by the coaches individually.

“The coaches seem to have decided that £3,500 is not enough for a rookie winner to run at Newbury,” he said. “It’s a class 1 track and it’s a Saturday afternoon. I decided to declare my horse to run somewhere else and presumably – I have no idea because trainers are independent beings – they decided to hold the same view.

“The race was originally set to have a total value of £5,300 and Newbury added that after the introductory phase, but it was clearly not enough – it was too little, too late. I believe there was some correspondence from a coach with the track when the terms were released a month ago.”

When asked which image represents a race drawing with no declared runners for racing, Beckett said, “That’s a racetrack question.”

Varian added the prize money on offer was “just not good enough for a Group 1 track on a Saturday afternoon,” while the NTF said Newbury should do it “Think about whether a race with a prize purse of just £5,300 is fit for a televised Saturday game at a top-class racecourse.”

The stance taken by the trainers was supported by Group 1 jockey Luke Morris, who called the prize money on offer “a disgrace” for the caliber of the track, while lead owner breeder Kirsten Rausing, whose filly Altjeringa was undeclared, added she will support similar measures in the future “if necessary”.

Owner Craig Bennett, who has raced against Purple Moon and Group 1 winners Second Step and Cursory Glance under his Merry Fox Stud banner, added his support for the promotion after his Golden Sheen was not declared by trainers Harry and Roger Charlton was.

We didn’t run for two reasons, the main reason was the ground as she would need a raindrop,” he said. “Besides, if you think that a first class racecourse like Newbury thinks they can run races like this with that kind of prize money, you’d be very wrong. The owners cannot be expected to support it with what it costs to breed horses, train horses and take them to the races – it’s a shame, there’s no other word for it.

“Newbury needs to take a very close look at itself, as does any other circuit that takes the same approach. It’s out of sync with other racetracks, smaller racetracks, and they have to look at themselves because what they’re doing is obviously wrong.

Bennett, who has 20 horses in training between the UK, Ireland and France, added: “The directors of racecourses in the UK need to know that owners have a choice to race in Ireland and France, and unless it will offered competitive prize money It doesn’t take a genius to think about where they are likely to use their horses.”

Six races remain on the card for Saturday, led by the £200,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint, with race officials anticipating a large crowd, with a post-race concert by Craig David also set to take place.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Julian Dick:

Julian Thick: “It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a concerted effort”

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Julian Thick said Newbury had been transparent in funding the prize money and that the cancellation of a race was “disappointing” given expected entries.

It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a concerted action with a race that had 13 entries from 10 different stables and received no explanations,” he said.

“Newbury has always had a portfolio of breeds that have been run to different values ​​and catered to different types of horses throughout the year and this year is no different. As an independent AG, we are transparent with regard to our prize money strategy and our finances and maintain a constant dialogue with the NTF in this regard.

“We recently publicly announced an increase in prize money when our new media deal goes into effect next year, with at least 40 percent of total media revenue being dedicated to our prize money for the next three years.

“Against this backdrop, it is disappointing that this has come at a time when the industry needs to pull together.”

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