Appearance Money Scheme

Updated April 30, 2019

After much success in 2018 (with payments in excess of £5.5m made to horsemen) the Scheme ran into difficulties in the early part of 2019 when Arena Racing announced it would not "unlock" qualifying races from February 12, 2019, consequently denying itself the opportunity to release £4.5m of levy funding for lower-grade races.

The cuts came as ARC anticipated a multi-million-pound fall in income from media rights payments as a result of predictions that thousands of betting shops will close following the government's reduction in FOBT stakes to £2 from £100.

ARC announced a temporary prize-fund boost on February 28 until the end of March. This was superceded by the Levy Board providing £6.5m from their reserves to make up the shortfall in prize-money. Of that £6.5m, £4.1m will be targeted at the grassroots of the sport. Last year extra prize-money for middle and lower tier races, which included appearance money and £400 from the Levy Board, was 'unlocked' when courses put in an extra £900 from their own funds. Under the new agreement, courses can unlock extra funds by adding £400, with the Levy Board making up the £500 difference. More details on the Levy Board contribution are here.

The mechanics of the Scheme are outlined below:

The Scheme ensures that no horse finishing in the first eight in the majority of Flat races at classes 4-6 would win less than £300. Over jumps, the scheme applies to most races run at classes 3-5, with connections of the first eight home guaranteed a minimum payment of £350.

This enhanced scheme meant that it was a racecourse's responsibility to “unlock” and pay Appearance Money to owners in the following races:

  • All Class 3, 4 and 5 National Hunt races, but not National Hunt Flat races, Hunter Chase races, or Weight-for-age Maiden or Novice Hurdle races.
  • All Class 4, 5 and 6 Flat races, but not Weight-for-age Novice, Novice Auction, or Median Auction Novice races, or Weight-for-age Maiden, Maiden Auction, or Median Auction Maiden races.

Races that fall into the correct bracket would then need to adhere to the following conditions for the race:

  • Paying prize-money down to at least fourth place
  • Ensuring that the prize-money for an eligible race is at least £900 above the minimum value, and
  • Maintaining their average class of race during the relevant Programme Book.

This would trigger the following payments to Owners whose horses have finished at least eighth in the following races:

  • an eligible Jump race on a Friday evening, Saturday evening or Sunday qualifies for a payment of £450 (plus VAT where applicable)
  • an eligible Flat race on a Friday evening, Saturday evening or Sunday qualifies for a payment of £400 (plus VAT where applicable)
  • an eligible floodlit Flat race during the winter months qualify for a payment of £400 (plus VAT where applicable)
  • an eligible Jump race on all other days and times qualifies for a payment of £350 (plus VAT where applicable)
  • an eligible Flat race on all other days and times qualifies for a payment of £300 (plus VAT where applicable)

Racecourses also have an opportunity to "unlock" a race at the Racing Calendar stage.

Various terms and conditions apply. Please check the rules of racing (here) for full details.

There are a number of Non-Criteria fixtures which are run throughout the year, which are not eligible for the AMS, and will therefore not benefit from the additional payments.