25 March 2021


  • Changes will boost median earnings of Owners, Trainers and Racing Staff by 13%, with placed owners in non-pattern races receiving over £7.5m more a year
  • New changes to Schedule 9 of the Rules of Racing will redistribute prizemoney more fairly in non-pattern races with more equitable distribution amongst connections
  • Changes undertaken as part of Horsemen’s Group work to retain and attract owners and to improve average earnings for participants
  • The changes in prize money distribution come into effect on Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Horsemen’s Group has today agreed to a significant redistribution of prizemoney that will improve median earnings of horsemen, excluding jockeys, by up to 13%. The planned redistribution aims to better support the grassroots of the sport as racing continues its recovery from the pandemic. The changes to non-pattern race prizemoney distribution will help create a simpler, more equitable system that is easy to understand whilst improving median earnings.

The changes will apply to payments made to owners, trainers, and stable staff. The distribution to jockeys will remain unchanged. These changes have been agreed by the relevant members of the Horsemen’s Group and ratified by the BHA Board through changes to the Rules of Racing.

The redistribution is underpinned by an industry-wide review of prizemoney distribution, commissioned by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), which analysed the most effective means of developing a model that was more equitable, consistent, and easy to understand – and that would support the growth and retention of ownership.

The review, undertaken in July 2020, highlighted prizemoney as the single biggest challenge to retaining and attracting owners as well as showing the gradually poorer returns at the lower end of the ‘racing pyramid’. Of particular concern was the comparatively low return on investment rate in non-pattern racing compared with pattern and the impact of the ‘triple loss’ of losing, receiving less prizemoney and receiving handicap increases up to 80% of the winner’s.

Over 54% of the owners surveyed supported a redistribution of prizemoney to placed horses in non-pattern races. 70% of owners surveyed said they struggled to understand the current prizemoney distribution model.

The changes to the Rules of Racing for non-pattern races is aimed at improving median earnings by:
Redistributing prize-money toward second to fourth placed finishers, with clear guidelines on required number of prizes per race, under a new 50% principle, whereby each descending place simply receives 50% of the previous.

For example, new distributions to Owners under both codes will be:

  • 1st Place: 53.3%    
  • 2nd Place: 26.7%    
  • 3rd Place: 13.3%    
  • 4th Place: 5.33%
This will provide an additional £7.5m in prize-money to placed owners in non-pattern races, increasing median earnings by 12.5%. Trainers will also see median earnings in non-pattern races increasing by up to 9%.
Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA, said: “Prizemoney is a huge, long-term challenge for owners and racing and these changes are being made following feedback and consultation with owners. With the impact of COVID on racing, the ROA are working hard with industry colleagues to retain and attract owners and improving prizemoney distribution is a key part of that.

“Prizemoney distribution has always been a frustration for owners, whether it was the complexity of the system or the levels generally. The changes deliver what owners want: simplicity and fairness. Put simply, more owners can access a larger share of the prizemoney now. This improves earnings across the sport and enhances funding to the middle and lower tiers.
“We want to encourage people to stay in our sport and bring new participants in. To do that, the sport has to be an attractive proposition. Owners spend over £30m a month in training fees and collectively the industry needs to grow our income stream and ensure that owners receive a fair return through prizemoney.”

Ken McGarrity, ROA Board Member said: “Our survey showed Owners are in favour of a more even distribution of prizemoney across placed finishers.  Many cited the “Triple loss” of missing out on the thrill of winning, finishing second and receiving just 33% of the Winner’s prizemoney, and then getting between 50 - 80% of the Winner’s Handicap increase jeopardising future earnings. The new 50% principle is fairer and simple to understand for Owners, Trainers and Stable Staff. I’m so pleased that the ROA has led this project and thank the Horsemen’s Group and all the Industry representatives who have worked so hard to make this happen.  I look forward to tackling the other challenges, and developing other opportunities, to improve returns to Owners, with them and the rest of the ROA Board in the future.“

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive at National Trainers’ Federation said: “Our survey of NTF members supported this shift in favour of the connections of placed horses. Retention of owners is a key strategic priority for racing so we hope this redistribution of reward will contribute to that objective.“

George McGrath, Chief Executive at NAORS said: “The National Association of Racing Staff welcome the changes to the distribution of prizemoney. The changes address the gaps between the winning percentage and those that were placed. As these have been evened out to what we consider a fairer distribution it will see more racing staff getting a share of their horses and yards prizemoney. It is right that the hard work of all racing staff is recognised and not just those that look after the winners. We would like to acknowledge the hard work by the Horseman’s Group and industry as a whole for making this happen.”

Richard Wayman, the BHA’s Chief Operating Officer, said “The BHA Board recognised the potential benefits of the new prizemoney distribution model and has approved the changes, following representations from the Horsemen’s Group. 
“We hope that the new model helps provide greater clarity and consistency for participants - and contributes to the wider strategic objective of supporting the retention of owners.”

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