Betfair has teamed up with three Scottish racecourses to fund and promote Class 5 and 6 flat racing, providing £200,000 to form a new series of flat races aimed at grass roots racing.
Musselburgh, Ayr and Hamilton Park will promote the Betfair Bonus Scottish Flat Racing Series, culminating in a Champions Day at Musselburgh with more than £100,000 prize money.
The initiative is aimed at increasing prize money for flat horses rated up to 75 and to provide a lucrative finale for trainers and owners at the end of the flat season. Prize money for the qualifying races will be at least 60% higher than average flat meeting races and the organisers are hoping to pull in a 5000-plus crowd on Champions Day.
Each racecourse will stage six sprint qualifiers over 5-6 furlongs, six mile qualifiers over 7-9 furlongs and six stayers’ heats over 11 furlongs and longer. Every qualifier will have a Betfair Series Bonus attached worth an extra £1500 (Class 6) and £2900 (Class 5), over and above the prize money offered by the racecourses, taking prize money for each race to the maximum of £4000 and £6500 respectively.
All horses which run in a Betfair Bonus qualifying race will also qualify for the relevant Final on Champions Day.
The season kicks off at Musselburgh on Saturday, April 23 and runs through the summer flat season, with Champions Day on September 3 featuring three category finals worth £25,000 each and three consolation races worth £8000 each. Hamilton Park gets under starters orders on Friday May 6, while Ayr kicks off on Monday July 11, hosting the bulk of its qualifiers in July and August.
Martin Cruddace, Betfair’s Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer said: “We are delighted to support such an innovative programme of flat racing and to be able to enhance the level of prize money on offer in Scotland by £200,000. It’s a great boost for grass roots racing and all three racecourses should be congratulated for working together for the betterment of Scottish Racing.”
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “At a time when the racing industry is facing difficult challenges, we have to find new ways of promoting our sport and making it more attractive for race goers, trainers and owners and we are grateful to Betfair for their generous support.
“The Betfair Bonus Scottish Flat Racing Series will provide a platform for the unsung heroes of the racing circuit and supports the day-to-day racing which underpins the whole sport. By offering increased prize money and also the fanfare of a Champions Day we hope to reward those people who invest in flat racing for the sheer enjoyment rather than the huge spoils which can be collected in the upper echelons.
“It’s a great example of Scotland’s flat race courses working together to benefit each other and we hope owners, trainers and the paying public will back us with bigger crowds throughout the season and by making Champions Day a day to remember.”
For further information contact Tony Calvin, Head of Media, Betfair, telephone 07881 508999 or Stephen Rafferty, Sure Public Relations, telephone 07980 598764, email firstname.lastname@example.org