Racing funding boost: Grassroots horseracing to receive £9.7m extra in 2018
Grassroots racing will receive an extra £9.7m in 2018 under new proposals from the British Horseracing Authority.
The BHA aims to halt a decline in the number of horses taking part in races lower down the scale with an increase in prize money and appearance fees.
The scheme has the support of the Racecourse Association and Horsemen's Group.
The proposals come as the 2018 fixture list is released, with 1,508 meetings next year, 11 more than in 2017.
Richard Wayman, chief operating officer for the BHA, said: "Although there has been growth in total prize money in recent years, much of this has been at the top end. The returns to our sport's participants further down the scale are simply not sufficient at present to be sustainable.
"Targeting grassroots with extra funding will help racing's participants to maintain their involvement in the sport, keeping more horses in training, as well as helping with the recruitment and retention of staff to care for our horses."
The BHA proposes to invest additional levy income in racing from 2018, with the aim of delivering three key objectives for the sport - supporting ownership, delivering more competitive and compelling racing, and increasing customer engagement.
A statement by the BHA proposed that, in addition to the increased number on meetings next year, there will also be "customer-friendly slots on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons throughout summer with the aim of increasing attendances".
"We need the fixture list and race programme to work in a manner that meets our customer's requirements. As customer and betting habits change it is essential that our sport evolves with them," Wayman added.