On Sunday morning came the appropriately timed announcement by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) that it is to use its Development Fund to give a vital boost to Sunday racing in the UK this year with the introduction of two £5,000 bonus races each weekend.

The scheme has been developed by the Horsemen’s Group (HG), which has campaigned vigorously for better prize-money through its tariff system, in liaison with the Racecourse Association (RCA). The hope is that it will improve competitiveness and field sizes in the key Sunday fixtures.

The move has been well received by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), whose Chief Executive Richard Wayman said: “The Sunday Bonus Races are a welcome first step in addressing the current shortage of investment in the Sunday racing programme. With owners and trainers bearing additional costs on Sundays, the payments will provide a much-needed financial incentive that should help to create more competitive and interesting races every week.”

The bonus races will begin on Sunday, February 3 at Musselburgh and Lingfield. The scheme has been developed to encourage registration to both the ROA and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) with bonuses distributed as follows:

  • Winning owners who are members of the ROA will receive a bonus of £3,150 (63% of bonus fund). Non-ROA members will receive £1,000
  • Winning breeders who are members of the TBA will receive a bonus of £500 (10% of bonus fund). Non-TBA members will receive £150
  • Winning trainers will receive a bonus of £675 (13.5% of bonus fund)
  • Winning jockeys will receive a bonus of £450 (9% of bonus fund)
  • Winning stable staff will receive a bonus of £225 (4.5% of bonus fund)

Wayman added: “It is an important feature of the scheme that all horsemen associated with a winning horse will benefit, as is the fact that the payment structure will provide another reason for more owners and breeders to get involved with the representative bodies that exist to promote their interests.”

Commenting on the scheme, the BHA’s Director of Racing Ruth Quinn said: “We are delighted that the proposal to use the BHA Development Fund to offer a further boost to Sunday racing has been approved by the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association.

“We are aware that Sunday racing often produces less competitive field sizes and that there are additional costs for Horsemen associated with racing on a Sunday. This scheme forms part of a wider plan to trial ways in which Sunday racing can be improved.”