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Horse Racing – Where Does The Prize Money Go?

In financial terms, it appears as if UK horse racing is in rude health. For example, at the start of 2015, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced record prize money of £130.8 million. This was a 6.2% increase on the 2014 figure which in itself was a record.

At the same time, the number of runners decreased from almost 91,000 in 2014 to just over 87,500 in 2015. This means more money to go around surely? Certainly, the top trainers appear to do extremely well in prize money terms.

For example, Michael Appleby leads the British Championship of Flat Trainers with prize money of almost £262,000 (figures from November to November each year) and with huge races to come later on in the season. Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls leads the Jump Trainers table with a cool £1.63 million (figures from April to April each year) and has the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals to come*.

However, there are quite a lot of people involved in the fortunes of each horse and you may be surprised by just how small a percentage certain individuals receive. Below, we take a look at how the winnings get distributed taking data directly from the BHA. Rather than go through several different race types, I am focusing on the main Flat and Jump race prize money. You should be able to see a clear pattern emerging from the data below.

Flat Pattern & Listed Races

As you will see, the distribution of money depends on how many prizes are up for grabs. The BHA site includes data to races with 8 prizes but for the sake of this article, I will just look at races with 3 prizes on offer. Incidentally, the Crabbie’s Grand National offers prizes to the first 10 finishers this year and has done since 2012.

Figures Relate to Events With Prizes For First, Second & Third Only

Owners

  • First Place: 49.6% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 20.27%.
  • Third Place: 10.13%.

Incidentally, the trainer of a horse in eighth place for events with 8 prizes receives just 0.28% of the total prize fund!

Trainers

  • First Place: 5.89% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 1.31%.
  • Third Place: 0.65%.

Jockeys

  • First Place: 4.33% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 0.96%.
  • Third Place: 0.48%.

Stable

  • First Place: 2.95% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 1.2%.
  • Third Place: 0.6%.

Total

Now we will quickly use the above figures to calculate how the prize money gets distributed between first, second and third:

  • First Place: 62.77%.
  • Second Place: 23.74%.
  • Third Place: 11.86%.

Mathematically minded readers may have added everything together and ended up with 98.37%. So where does the remaining 1.63% go?

  • Industry Training: 0.58%.
  • Jockey Valet’s Attendance: 0.2%.
  • PJA Pension Fund: 0.6%.
  • NASS: 0.25%.

In a race with a total prize fund of £100,000, the winning owner receives £49,600 while the winning jockey gets just £4,330.

Jump Pattern & Listed Races

Owners

  • First Place: 48.52% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 19.82%.
  • Third Place: 9.91%.

Trainers

  • First Place: 5.89% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 1.31%.
  • Third Place: 0.65%.

Jockeys

  • First Place: 5.64% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 1.25%.
  • Third Place: 0.63%.

Stable

  • First Place: 2.95% of total purse.
  • Second Place: 1.2%.
  • Third Place: 0.6%.

Total

  • First Place: 63%.
  • Second Place: 23.58%.
  • Third Place: 11.79%.
  • Industry Training: 0.58%.
  • Jockey Valet’s Attendance: 0.2%.
  • PJA Pension Fund: 0.6%.
  • NASS: 0.25%.

As you can see, the figures are almost the same. The difference is that Jump jockeys receive slightly more money than their Flat counterparts while owners in Jump events receive slightly less.

Amateur riders don’t receive prize money; instead, the percentages mentioned above for jockeys are paid to the BHA.

Conclusion

It certainly pays to be the owner of a champion racehorse but then again, owners must invest a substantial amount of money in order to get their horses in top shape. The question is: Do you think jockeys should earn a bigger slice of the pie?

For your information, Ryan Mania, jockey on board 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore, earned just over £50,000 for his winning ride. He promptly fell on the very next ride after his National win and had to be airlifted to hospital; the life of a jockey!

 

 

*Figures correct as at 14th March 2016.

Sources

http://www.racingpost.com/news/horse-racing/bha-record-british-prize-money-but-runner-numbers-fall/1805757/#newsArchiveTabs=last7DaysNews

http://www.britishhorseracing.com/race-info/trainers/

http://www.thecrabbiesgrandnational.co.uk/festival-overview/about/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/22091692

http://www.britishhorseracing.com/

Patrick Lynch

Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on www.lynchthewriter.com or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.

6 Comments

    1. Hi Bernie, Stuart Appleby is a figment of my imagination (or a simple error). It should be Michael Appleby. Apologies for the blunder.

  1. Interesting outlook, but what about the lower class races? A class 5 sprint handicap at Brighton pays £2911 to the winner (with second place prize money only £866). Once you take away monthly trainer fees, entry fees, travel expenses and paying the jockey for the ride, not to mention their cut of winnings, an owner would need their horse to win twice a month in order to see any real profit. Bear in mind they may have paid anything between £800 and £40,000 or more for this horse in the first place. You’d hope they didn’t pay more than that if they can only run it in class 5 handicaps at Brighton but I’m sure it happens! In summary, this isn’t a “jockeys shouldn’t be paid more”, it’s actually a “prize money should be distributed better in the lower end”.

    1. Hi Jon, the link I sent to Peter covers the full split according to the BHA. I agree that it is a real shame that the lower end of racing sees relatively little money since the sport is dependent on their hard work.

  2. The article above say’s, 2.95 of prize money goes to the stable lads pool for the yard, however I know a trainer that only pays 1.5%, is this trainer breaking the rules ? Peter

    1. Hi Peter, I am not sure to be honest. All of the figures in the article came from the British Horseracing Authority website. The stable of the winner is supposed to get 3.33% in amateur rider races, and the 2.95% is the figure for several other race types; no race type provides less to the winner. Even the website of Mark Walford says 5% of the prize money is split between stables and charities. Here is the link so you can see if I have misread the figures! file:///C:/Users/FiercePC/Downloads/BHA_rules_export_126771%20(3).pdf

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