Cheltenham Increases Purses for 2003-04 Season

Edited from a Cheltenham release

Cheltenham Racecourse announced Wednesday that prize money for the 2003/2004 season, starting at the end of October, will rise by 5% compared to last season.

There will be £4.4 million on offer over the 16 days of racing at Cheltenham and, from November through to April, every professional jump race at the home of National Hunt racing will be worth at least £15,000, with novice chases having £20,000 or more in prize money.

This means that prize money at Cheltenham has nearly doubled since the 1998/1999 season when it stood at £2,422,000.

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham's Clerk of the Course, commented today, "The Cheltenham board aims to keep prize money levels moving forward and this has been accomplished again despite difficult circumstances.

"Cheltenham, with the help of race sponsors, is putting in a sum which will more than offset the reduction of £192,000 (minus 30%) in basic daily rates made by the Levy Board up to the end of year.

"The 2004 National Hunt Festival (March 16-18) will have prize money of £2.3 million and the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup is run at £350,000."

The prize money commitment is part of the equation to encourage the best horses to compete at Cheltenham which continues to invest in improved facilities for spectators and horses.