The other day I noticed a slogan on a T-shirt which read "If we are what we eat, I’m fast, cheap and easy." It obviously doesn’t apply to me: my favourite dish is lobster with garlic mayonnaise – which probably means that I’m just shellfish.
Following the announcement of the 2015 fixture list last week, we are now in the process of pulling together all the ingredients for our race programmes and, fairly soon, I hope that we’ll be able to announce a menu of rich and competitive jump racing with opportunities to suit a wide variety of horses.
Last year we programmed our classiest race ever: the William Hill 80th Anniversary Hurdle Race – it was Cartmel’s first ever Class 2 event. This week we learnt that we have been given approval, by the British Horseracing Authority, for a further three Class 2 events, two of which will be staged on our new Sunday fixture on 28th June, 2015. We shall also be upgrading the Cavendish Cup Steeplechase, on the final day of the season, to a Class 2 event with at least £22,500 of prize money.
On Wednesday the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s funding allocation process started in earnest. There are several days in the calendar, mainly Sundays and Bank Holidays when there are more fixtures being staged than are desired by the betting industry. These fixtures are usually very popular with racegoers and so it would be detrimental to cull them from the fixture list, but the HBLB has come up with a new method of prioritising where their prize money grants are spent: racecourses are required to state the total value of prize money that they intend to put up on each of these days, using an auction-style bidding process. The grants go to those that bid the highest.
Initial indications are that Cartmel will benefit from full prize money grants for all of our eligible fixtures, but there are Manyriverstocross (which happens to be the name of our selection this week – entered at Ascot on Saturday). At this stage, no one knows exactly what the grants will be worth.
In percentage terms, the grants are likely to account for roughly 40% of the total prize fund with 10% coming from race entry fees (paid by racehorse owners) and the other half from the racecourse executive. The executive contribution includes all the monies paid as race sponsorship, which is why race sponsors such Unsworth’s Yard Brewery, Furness Fish & Game, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding and Louis Roederer Champagne are so important to us – they provide essential ingredients for our race programme – adding zest, body, sweetness and bubbles.