Business

Jockey Club horse racing posts record annual turnover

David Mullins riding Rule The World clears a jump on the way to winning the Crabbie's Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse on April 9, 2016 Image copyright Getty Images

The Jockey Club, which operates 15 racecourses, including Aintree, Epsom Downs, Cheltenham and Newmarket, has posted record annual turnover for 2015.

Turnover was £181.3m, up 7.1% on a year earlier, with operating profits also up, to £21.9m from £21.7m.

Its contribution to prize money also hit a record, of £19.9m.

Chief executive Simon Bazalgette said he was confident "that our sport can mean more, to more people, more often, in the years ahead".

'Hospitality sales'

The Jockey Club said that in 2015 it attracted record crowds of nearly two million people to its racecourses nationwide - up 8% from 1.79 million the previous year.

Turnover growth "was also driven by record hospitality sales and generally strong performance from Jockey Club Catering at its racecourse venues, media incomes and a successful year for its Jockey Club Live joint venture," it added.

Meanwhile, Mr Bazalgette said the Jockey Club planned to raise prize money contribution to £20.9m in 2016, subject to all meetings going ahead as scheduled.

He also said that in 2015 the organisation's largest-ever development project, at Cheltenham, was completed within a £45m budget and three months early.

Mr Bazalgette added: "Significant progress was also made on several industry matters, including our sport's new stakeholder structure, government commitments over British Racing's funding, an exciting new terrestrial broadcast deal from 2017 and a more efficient vehicle to provide media to betting shops from 2018, while The Jockey Club welcomed the support of new commercial partners and the sport as a whole reached more than 40% of the UK's television viewing audience."

The Jockey Club, which is governed by Royal Charter to reinvest all profits into British horse racing, says it has grown its turnover by 82% since 2008, its first full year of operating solely as a commercial group.

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