Newmarket: Racecourse owners post record results

Race action at Newmarket

Race action at Newmarket - Credit: Contributed

THE Jockey Club, owners of racecourses at Newmarket and the National Stud, have announced record financial results despite competition from the Olympics and dismal weather.

The 263-year-old group, which owns 15 racecourses including the Rowley Mile and July Course in Newmarket as well as Cheltenham and Aintree, said successful ‘racing plus music’ nights that saw Madness and Tom Jones perform helped push turnover up 8% through the £150million mark.

The results were published yesterday, as the horse racing industry reeled from the news that 11 horses trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, a star trainer for the famous Godolphin stables in Newmarket have tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive, of the Jockey Club said the results, which saw operating profits rise by 3% to £19.8m, had enabled the group to launch of a pioneering retail bond.

Billed as the first of its kind in British sport, it will attempt to persuade fans to invest between £2,000 and £100,000 in increments of £500 over five years and promises annual returns of 7.75%, paid quarterly. But only 4.75% of that will be in cash with the rest delivered in “Racing4Rewards points” to spend on tickets, food and drink.

Mr Bazalgette said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to buck the trend with record financial results and make 2012 the year we contributed more to the people at the centre of our sport than ever before through prize money.

“Our biggest racing festivals have never been bigger, while average attendances at Jockey Club Racecourses grew, more horses trained on our gallops at Newmarket and Lambourn, and The National Stud welcomed growth in stallion nominations, boarding and sales.”

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He added: “That’s all despite the second-wettest year in history cancelling fixtures, reducing walk-up crowds and increasing costs to keep the show on the road; stiff competition in the leisure market and from events like London 2012 and Euro 2012; and no resurgence in the UK economy.”

Figures released by the club reveal that the National Stud in Newmarket generated £2.6m of turnover in 2012, which is an increase of 30% on 2011.

The Newmarket Nights events were also flagged up as an important revenue stream. More than 200,000 people attended 24 events featuring acts such as Jessie J and Olly Murs.

A further 25 music fixtures are planned for 2013 with Simple Minds, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Madness, Meat Loaf and Rita Ora all scheduled.

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