British EBF leads investment again in UK Racing
Mon 1 May 2017
The British arm of the European Breeders’ Fund have announced a record equaling £1.7million investment into UK prize money for 2017. The organisation, which is funded primarily by subscriptions from UK based stallion owners, will maintain the level of investment seen in 2016, bringing the total contribution by the EBF to UK racing to just over £31.5million since its inception in 1983.
The British EBF is charged with the task of re-investing the generously provided income from UK based stallion owners directly in to prize money; in doing so it is one of the leading sponsors of racing in the UK by both number of races and total prize value of the races they support:
|Top 10 Sponsors by number of races sponsored (2016)||Top 10 sponsors by prize value (2016)|
Table info reproduced courtesy of Mary-Ann Sandercock (first published in RCA Update, March 2017)
BEBF funding is distributed nation-wide to nearly every racecourse in the British Isles and is guided by a strong set of under-pinning principles to help focus investment where it is needed most. Although the British EBF works with both Jockey Club Racecourses and Arena Racing, nearly half its annual funding is distributed among the independent racecourses.
The 2017 contributions are headlined by the return of the highly successful EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series, which sees a renewed investment of over £300,000. Initially launched in 2016, this programme of 20 races, covering sprint to middle distance contests, is designed to produce valuable handicap opportunities for fillies, aged three years old and up, to race competitively throughout the flat season. The series will culminate in a finals day at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Friday 7th October with each showcase (one each for 6f, 8f, 10f and 12f) carrying an eye-catching prize fund of £50,000. To further enhance the programme, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association have again offered a bonus worth up to £25,000 to any qualifying filly that wins one of the valuable EBF finals on 7th October.
In line with the British EBF’S remit to support a minimum of 70% of the two-year-old races year on year, the largest proportion of the annual re-investment from stallion owners is in this area of the programme and accounts for 33% of the total BEBF prize money distribution.
Support has again been given to the All-Weather Championships initiative with an investment in qualifying races of nearly £50,000, as part of an overall support of all-weather racing in the UK of £125,000. A further £125,000 will again be allocated to support National Hunt races including the EBF Novice Hurdle Series.
The number of ‘Stayers Maidens’ has also been increased to 10 for 2017. Restricted to progeny of stallions that won over 10f or more with EBF eligibility, they offer opportunities later in the season for two-year-olds who may be campaigned in staying races later in their careers. They were created in 2015 in response to a review by the BHA Flat Racing Committee following a noticeable lack of opportunities for staying types and to help meet a goal of further enhancing the stayers programme.
The British EBF has also allocated £60,000 to fund (in conjunction with the TBA and Levy Board) a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University investigating factors leading to the susceptibility of higher worm burdens in the equine population; a vital pre-cursor to developing new systems of guarding against large scale worm infestations on thoroughbred stud farms. Previous research project funding includes: Equine Influenza, Strangles and the Equine Genome Project.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA):
“The contribution that the EBF makes to the sport through prize money and sponsorship is tremendous. Of particular value is the support for both fillies and stayers, two areas of the British thoroughbred breed that the industry must invest in, to ensure a healthy and vibrant future as an integral part of the racing programme and to maintain the great diversity that exists within the sport.”
Philip Mitchell, Chairman of the British European Breeders’ Fund:
“The British EBF continues to lead industry funded sponsorship of UK racing. Although our total investment figure is unchanged for 2017, we have re-focused our energy, through the newly re-vitalised race-planning committee, in to improving prize money levels in higher quality races. Part of our remit is to support races that help to improve the breed. For that reason, we have re-directed some of our funds in to higher value maidens specifically at York, Chester, Newmarket and Salisbury. We continue to put the majority of our money in to Class 4 maidens and above and are delighted to be able to run the EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series again in 2017.”
Julian Richmond Watson, Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association:
“The TBA is pleased to support the EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series again in 2017 with a £25,000 bonus for qualifying fillies. The bonus can be redeemed against an eligible British based stallion’s covering fee and aims to encourage owners to breed from fillies with proven ability. The TBA and EBF recognise the importance of promoting race opportunities for fillies, which are integral to the future of the British thoroughbred breeding industry. The inaugural series in 2016 was a huge success, attracting good sized fields, competitive racing and the first £25,000 TBA Bonus winner. We look forward to the start of the 2017 series in May.”
Michael Prosser, Head of Racing, Jockey Club Racecourses, East Region:
“British EBF make a substantial contribution to UK racing and continue to be great supporters of Jockey Club Racecourses and our particular aims at Newmarket. We are delighted to be hosting the finals of the EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series again this year, with their four “finals” races to be run at the Rowley Mile in October.”