Trainers' Prize Money Boycott Forces Worcester To Abandon Race
The "biggest names" in British jumps racing are to boycott a race at Worcester, England on Wednesday evening "in a bid to highlight dwindling prize money in the sport," according to Will Hayler of the London GUARDIAN. Trainers Nicky Henderson, David Pipe, Donald McCain, Jonjo O'Neill and Alan King are among those to have declared horses for the Partex-direct.co.uk Novice Hurdle, a contest that offers just £2,053 ($3,189) in prize money to the winner. The boycott has been organised by trainer Charlie Mann, an "outspoken critic of racecourses who he believes are not putting enough of their profits back into prize money" in the sport. The £3,000 ($4,650) total prize money for Wednesday's race fell £900 ($1,400) short of the "tariff" set by the Horsemen's Group for a contest of its type. Mann said, "Worcester could have put up the extra £900, but they chose not to do so" (GUARDIAN, 7/11). In London, Alan Lee reported that council-owned course Worcester, "with decrepit facilities and a propensity to flood," is operated by the recently amalgamated Arena and Northern Racing Group. Group Dir Ian Renton said that the boycott "is inevitable." He said, "It is disappointing that trainers have targeted such a well-meaning course, which is doing all it can in difficult circumstances." The National Trainers' Federation's next president, Philip Hobbs, is "among those who have declared horses today with no intention of running." Hobbs said, "I’m a little uncomfortable and would rather not go to these lengths, but we needed to do something" (LONDON TIMES, 7/11).