Charlton and Burke slam prize-money for Listed race at Newbury on Friday
Roger Charlton and Karl Burke have branded the prize-money on offer for Friday's Listed Byerley Stud Stakes at Newbury as "pretty disrespectful" and "an absolute disgrace" – and suggested the course are taking trainers and connections for granted.
The five-furlong race for juvenile fillies, better known as the St Hugh's Stakes, attracted a field of 13 runners with £14,461 on offer to the winner and a total prize fund of just over £25,000. The total fund is the minimum amount a Listed juvenile race can be staged for in Britain.
The amount paid to the winner has remained the same since 2013, and Burke, who will be represented by Beverley debut winner Seize The Time, slammed the prize-money on offer in his Racing Post Weekender column.
"It’s an absolute disgrace that they are offering just £14,461 to the winner of a Listed race," he wrote. "We’d almost have been better off running in the seller at York earlier in the year – that had a first prize of nearly £13,000. And remember every single race at York next week, including the maiden, will be worth at least £70,000.
"Newbury clearly thinks it can get away with it. This is the last 5f Listed race of the season for two-year-old fillies and it’s always very competitive as people chase black type, so they know they will get the runners. But it’s disgraceful for a track like this and the course should be ashamed of itself."
Roger Charlton, who will saddle Daughter In Law for the race, is of a similar opinion to Burke and said: "I agree with Karl. A Listed race ought to be worth more than that, especially at a premier track like Newbury. I think it should be more than £20,000.
"There are plenty of runners and it has always been a high-profile race. I think it's pretty disrespectful, frankly. I think most other trainers would agree."
Responding to the trainers' criticisms, Newbury clerk of the course Keith Ottesen said: "To compare the prize-money to York's Ebor meeting is ridiculous. Newbury is a dual-purpose track, we have a Flat and jumps season and as an independent course we've got to cut our cloth accordingly.
"It's important to point out that in 2018 there was record prize-money across both codes at Newbury, with a total prize fund in excess of £5 million.
"What we've done this year, in the face of falling media rights which is where a large part of our income comes from, is maintained our prize-money levels above £5 million.
"The race [St Hugh's Stakes] is run at the prescribed rates the Horsemen agreed to. To isolate one race on a support day to a televised card without taking into consideration the rest of our programme – which is strongly balanced in favour of the Horsemen in terms of offering stepping stones towards higher-profile races and providing opportunities for black type – is misleading."
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