Ascot Racecourse Announces Record Prize Money for 2022
- Ascot increases prize money offering by £2 million
- The Royal meeting will be worth £8.65 million in 2022
- QIPCO King George Diamond Weekend and Dubai Duty-Free Shergar Cup expands in 2022
Ascot Racecourse announced that it would offer record prize money in 2022 across the Flat and Jumps racing programme.
While much of the increase aims to preserve the grandeur of the Royal meeting, which attracts celebrities and royals alike, other meetings held at Ascot Racecourse will also receive more prize money.
According to Ascot, £15.64M will be on offer in 2022 – an increase of 14.4% or £2M on 2019 values, and significantly higher than the £8M offered in 2021 and 2020s £3.61M purse.
The only meeting that this year’s prize money does not cover is QIPCO British Champions Day due to the event being an industry partnership.
Royal Ascot, which takes place between June 14th – 18th this year and will be aired live on Sky Sports Racing, will receive a total of £8.65M – up by 18% or £1.32M on pandemic levels.
Ascot Racecourse recorded losses of £200,000 during 2020 due to COVID-19, and officials expect losses to extend by more than £10M this year. Still, as Royal Ascot is the racecourse’s most lucrative event, offering the best will help attract and maintain international investment.
Each race at Royal Ascot will now be worth no less than £100,000, while the opening day, which features three Group One races – Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Horse Stakes – will be worth £2M!
It’s a first for the Royal meeting, with officials hoping to up the stakes further by offering at least £1m for each of the nine Group 1 races held over the five-day event in the coming years.
Elsewhere, the Dubai Duty-Free Shergar Cup, held on August 6th 2022, will expand from six races to eight and twelve runners from ten, with an additional £25,000 up for grabs. Ascot has also added two new races to the card, worth £50,000 each – details of the format is set to be released soon.
The QIPCO King George Diamond Weekend will also expand in 2022, as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes return to their pre-COVID levels of £1.25M.
Ascot’s CEO Guy Henderson stated: “We are delighted to report that our plans to offer pre-pandemic prize money as we re-build.”
While a significant proportion of the prize money is being invested in the Royal meeting, he said it was necessary to “maintain the quality of the top end of British racing.”
Guy Henderson added:
“Prize money is racing’s equivalent of remunerating the players on the pitch. We need to offer an attractive purse to draw the greatest, else overseas investors could lose interest in British racing.
“As we build Ascot as a global brand wrapped around world-class racing, we aim to offer at least £1m for each of our nine Group One races in the coming years.”
Current Group 1 races held at Royal Ascot:
- Tuesday – G1 Queen Anne Stakes
- Tuesday – G1 King’s Stand Stakes
- Tuesday – G1 St James’s Palace Stakes
- Wednesday – G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes
- Thursday – G1 Gold Cup
- Friday – G1 Commonwealth Cup
- Friday – G1 Coronation Stakes
- Saturday – G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes (originally the Diamond Jubilee Stakes)
Despite suffering steep losses due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Ascot Racecourse said they would make an estimated executive contribution of £8.3M to the £15.64M.
Prize Money Increases for Races Outside of Royal Ascot
Outside of Royal Ascot, the Dubai Duty-Free Shergar Cup and QIPCO King George Diamond Day, all Flat races at Ascot will be worth a minimum of £15,000, except three National Hunt Flat races. Meanwhile, Jumps races at the racecourse will be worth at least £10,000, excluding the Hunters’ Chase, which will have prize money of £5,000.
Guy Henderson noted: “Field sizes for races of both codes are under pressure. With this in mind, we have applied several targeted increases across our programme and raised our minimum prize-money levels for both codes.”
Ascot Racecourse’s announcement follows news from The Jockey Club that prize money across its 15 racecourses will reach a record £58.2M in 2022.
It also comes after Arena Racing Company promised to increase its executive contribution to prize money by £4M to £21.7M in 2022 – a much-needed financial boost for British racing.
BHA Introduces New Measures to Protect Racegoers
British racing was hard hit by COVID-19 as the absence of racegoers from racecourses meant that many couldn’t contribute towards purses.
While officials are hopeful in 2022, racecourses, including Ascot, have warned that plans could change if COVID-19 poses a severe threat.
Racing is taking additional steps to protect the people and the sport from COVID-related disruption. Current guidance from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) includes:
- Mandatory proof of COVID status for meetings of more than 4,000 attendees
- Face coverings to be worn in outdoor racing operational areas, e.g. parade rings and racecourse stables
- Social distancing requirements in Weighing Rooms
Ascot’s CEO Guy Henderson, who will retire and hand over the reins to Vivien Currie MBE after Royal Ascot 2022, said:
“I wish to thank Ascot’s staff, customers and commercial partners for all their loyal support in 2021. It has so significantly contributed to the business being able to advance again in 2022.”