Fakenham Racecourse gets top rating in national assessment
Fakenham Racecourse has received a top rating and been singled out for praise in a national scheme assessing which courses are making a satisfactory contribution to prize money.
The Horsemen's Group, which represents the Racehorse Owners Association, National Trainers Federation, Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Professional Jockeys Association and stable staff, announced the results of its assessment for jumps courses this week.
In an upgraded version of the group's tariff scheme, courses were given one of three ratings. Those that meet all of the criteria are regarded as partners, courses that meet some criteria are called associate partners and those that meet none risk being shunned.
Fakenham Racecourse has been rated as a partner course.
Seven courses fall into the final category and the Horsemen's Group will advise its members not to run horses at any of these blacklisted venues.
The Horsemen's Group say its members should benefit from the buoyant times that racecourses are enjoying, with increased attendances and a significant hike in media rights revenue.
Alan Morcombe, the group's chief executive, said they were reacting to concerns that smaller courses were being discriminated against and cited Fakenham as an example of a smaller track that had done everything to make itself more appealing to owners and trainers.
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He said: 'We will proactively try to fill those races if Fakenham has difficulty with entries.'
Chief executive and clerk of Fakenham racecourse, David Hunter, said: 'We pride ourselves in trying to find the most competitive prize money we can. It is very encouraging to see that we can hold our own in the current climate against other race courses. We look forward to forging a closer relationship with the Horsemen's Group to improve the size of the fields in our races.'
The seven blacklisted courses: Newcastle, Hexham, Towcester, Catterick, Leicester, Lingfield Park and Folkestone, will have until the end of the year to discuss the matter with the group and seek reassessment.
The next race meeting at Fakenham Racecourse is on December 12 with the first race at 1pm.