April 16, 2014 11:00 pm

Jockey Club’s profits gallop ahead despite setbacks

The Jockey Club attracted 1,740,000 people to its fixtures last year©CharlieBibby

The Jockey Club attracted 1,740,000 people to its fixtures last year

Bumper crowds at the Cheltenham, Grand National and Derby horseracing festivals last year helped offset a fall in attendances at the Jockey Club’s racecourses caused by bad weather.

The operator of 15 UK racecourses ran 361 fixtures last year, attracting 1,740,000 people. The previous year, its racecourses attracted 1,770,000 from 336 fixtures.

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The Jockey Club pointed to the loss of Cheltenham’s popular new year’s day fixture to the weather and a fall in the number of music events as reasons for the decline.

But turnover hit £166.9m and operating profit reached £22m – both figures representing growth of 11 per cent on 2012.

This enabled the club to contribute a record £18.2m in prize money and push up average prize money per fixture by £10,000 to £115,000.

Simon Bazalgette, the chief executive, said racing would benefit from more money being invested in the racecourses and fixtures that offered the best commercial returns.

He added that it was in the best interests of the betting industry to work with racing “more closely than ever”.

Furious rows about how much betting operators should pay to the sport in annual levy contributions have blighted the relationship.

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