British Racing's Shop Window Royal Ascot 'Needs More Prize Money'


Royal Ascot which gets underway on Tuesday(June 18) is British racing's most important week but prize money has to rise as you can "only trade on its glamour and history for so long", Qatar Racing's racing manager David Redvers said.

There is still £17.5 million (US$22.1 million) on offer over the five days that span a heady mix of top-class racing, the very height of fashion and the patronage of the Royal Family, headed by King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

The prize money, though, pales in comparison to international racing festivals elsewhere.

"Royal Ascot is very much the shop window internationally for British racing," Redvers stated.

"Ascot has eyes on it across the globe and is the place to be seen even if you are not a dyed in the wool racing fan.

"However, you can only trade on the glamour, history and tradition for so long and you have to progress in prize money to keep on attracting the US, Japanese and Australian runners."

William Woodhams, CEO of the world's oldest bookmakers Fitzdares, says Ascot should take a lead from tennis' grass court Grand Slam event Wimbledon.

"(Royal Ascot) is a wonderful spectacle for tourists and sits close to Wimbledon so many Americans come over for the month and enjoy them both," he told AFP.

"Sadly, the calibre of Japanese raiders hasn't quite materialised and it would be nice to have a few Aussie superstars attend.

"Ascot needs to start making the trip more worthwhile for international horses.

"With UK racing in decline but international racing growing, it needs to be more like Wimbledon."


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