BOSSES at Goodwood racecourse have announced a 12 per cent increase in this season’s prize money.
It means more than £3.6m is up for grabs across the 19 scheduled meetings, the first of which is on Saturday, May 4.
The five days of Glorious Goodwood will be worth over £2m in prize money, with some of the established Goodwood races seeing a substantial uplift in 2013.
As reported exclusively in the Observer, the Group 3 Gordon Stakes, which will be sponsored by Neptune Investment Management for the first time, will be worth £75,000 and will now take place on the Wednesday of Glorious, rather than Tuesday.
Also worth £75,000 is the Bet365 Summer Stakes, a 1m6f Open Handicap won last year by Motivado, the favourite for last year’s Ebor. It will now take place on the opening day of Glorious.
The Group 2 Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes, the Group 2 Audi Richmond Stakes and the Group 1 Markel Nassau Stakes will also see significant prize money boosts this season.
In addition, the May Festival, which takes place at the end of the month, has seen prize money increase over the three days and features a new handicap on the Saturday worth £50,000 and a valuable Class 2 handicap on each day to support the existing listed races.
Both Sea Moon and Michelangelo were Listed winners at the May Festival in 2012, with the former going on to win the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and Michelangelo third in the St Leger for John Gosden.
This will be the second year Goodwood has staged the three-day May Festival - while the same is true for the August bank-holidayt weekend festival.
Adam Waterworth, managing director of the racecourse, commented: “I am really pleased that we have been able to increase prize money across the year so significantly.
“The May Festival is a particular meeting we are keen to develop, so the added races and prize money are a good step forward.
“We are currently working with the Horseman’s Group and hope to progress prize money agreements with them - we have always seen investment in prize money as crucial and will continue to invest whatever we can in our racing.”
Goodwood’s increased prize money commitment comes as the Horseman’s Group is keen to see courses enter prize money agreements - and Goodwood are similarly keen to see these negotiations completed.
The winter has been difficult for most racecourses and Goodwood has not escaped, with freezing temperatures, snow and considerable rain limiting the growth of the turf.
Seamus Buckley, clerk of the course, said: “It has been a terrible six months, with all the rain in the autumn and then a very cold winter with strong easterly winds.
“There was, therefore, little growth in the grass but things are improving every day and we are finally beginning to see the course dry out, although we had 27mm of rain last week!
“It has been fertilised and I’m confident the course will be in great shape come May 4. I am very excited about the season ahead.”
Buckley recently hosted a turf husbandry seminar attended by clerks of courses and groundstaff from racecourses across the country.