20th August 2015

The prize-money at this year’s York Ebor Festival is really fantastic, with no race worth less than £50,000, and that was certainly an incentive to me to make entries there. But, as is so often the case with racecourses these days, there is, at least, one fly in the ointment.
The first race on today’s card is the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes and it is worth a total of £300,000 with £147,540 going to the winner. But a glance at the conditions reveals that owners have contributed no less than £302,000 to enter this race (plus all the surcharges and add-ons). So York racecourse is making a profit on entry fees alone before you account for contributions from the levy, media rights and sponsorship. And that makes me wonder, what is the sponsor, DBS (Doncaster Bloodstock Sales), putting into this race and where is their contribution going?
William Derby – the chief executive and clerk of the course at York – was one of those who got up in arms about BHA proposals to put a cap on owners’ contributions to races at 75% and, when I told him that I thought he was wrong, he got quite upset and accused me of a bias against York. Come on, William, they weren’t trying to set it at 10% or even an astronomical 25%. 75% contribution from owners would, to my mind, be ridiculous and, when it gets to over 100%, it is daylight robbery.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win the money for my owner with Delizia and, if I do, I’ll be very grateful to all those other owners who stumped up to put this race on.

Staff Area