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Plumpton set for prize-money boost with new man in charge

Plumpton stages its annual raceday in support of the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre
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Plumpton stages one of its most popular meetings on Monday with a new chief executive in place and plans for a boost in prize-money at the course from the start of next year.

The course is holding its annual Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre raceday in aid of the Sussex-based charity.

"We've got 375 people coming for lunch, which is a record," course director Adrian Pratt said.

The meeting will be new chief executive Dan Thompson's second in charge at the course – having officially joined last month from Exeter, where he was general manager.

Pratt said: "We're delighted to have Dan with us. He's already coming up with innovative ideas as to how to take the business forward and we look forward to seeing the fruits of those."

Since Michael Moloney took over from Claire Sheppard at Plumpton in November 2013 the course has had a high turnover of chief executives, with Emma Santer, Kate Hills and Russell Bowes having held the position in the interim.

"I think it's just one of those things," Pratt said. "It just didn't work out one way or the other. These things happen."

Plumpton will again stage its Cheltenham bonus series this winter, with the winners of five novice chases having the opportunity to scoop a £60,000 bonus if they go on to win a chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The course has also said that from January 1 every race, except bumpers, will carry at least £6,000 in prize-money, while every card will have a £10,000 feature race.

Pratt said a proportion of the extra prize-money would come from the additional funding provided by the government's levy reforms, but that there had also been a "substantial" increase in the course's executive contribution.

"We feel very strongly that we are trying to get the prize-money up for everybody's benefit," he said.

"As a small jumps owner myself I'm conscious how difficult it is. The BHA's appearance money and targeting money at class four to six races is critical because without the pyramid we're gone.

"We don't pretend at Plumpton to be anything other than what we are, a small jumps track with some feature races and our Cheltenham bonus.

"At the same time we've invested a lot of money in the infrastructure and drainage."

We feel very strongly that we are trying to get the prize-money up for everybody's benefit

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