Speaking about the boost, Michael Prosser, head of racing in the east of England for the Jockey Club said, “Our desire to grow the Betfred Cesarewitch Heritage Handicap as an international event has been demonstrated with the major cash injection it receives in 2013. It is already a tremendously popular race – and rightly so – but we believe its prestige can be developed even more in the coming years.”
David Pipe, who had four runners in the race last year, said “It’s a lot of prize money and there will be a lot of people targeting the race this year. It’s a race we always like to run a few horses in and we’ll definitely be looking to do the same this year.”
He’s right, because the increase makes the Cesarewitch worth more to the winner than any of the handicaps at Cheltenham, and almost as much as the World Hurdle, the least valuable (at £156k!) of the Championship races.
Last year’s first two home could well line up again, with John Quinn, trainer of second home Countrywide Flame said, “He would certainly have the Cesarewitch as an aim. It’s something in the front of our minds and we’d have a few nice staying horses for the Cesarewitch as well.”
The winner in 2012, Aaim to Prosper, is an unusual horse in that he has different trainers for his flat and jumping campaigns. So although he would be appear under Brian Meehan’s name if he ran in the Cesarewitch, it was Paul Nicholls who said, “I certainly wouldn’t rule it out as an option and I think it’s a case of never say never.”
The additional money for the Cesarewitch is part of a package of £800,000 that has been set aside to boost the Newmarket racing programme this season, and takes total prize money to £9.35m. All nine Group 1 races over the season benefit from an increase in prize money, with the other major increases as follows.
* The Piper-Heidsieck July Festival – £1.55 million (up by 24 per cent)
* Dubai Future Champions Day – £1.05 million (up by 24 per cent)
* The QIPCO Guineas Festival – £1.3million (up by 10 per cent).
* Darley July Cup £500,000 (up by £100,000) making it Europe’s joint most valuable Group 1 sprint.
* The Dubai Dewhurst Stakes £350,000 (up by £50,000), becoming Europe’s richest two-year-old Group 1 race.
* The QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas £400,000 each (up by £50,000 each)
Amy Starkey, who as regional director works closely with Prosser commented, “As befits one of the world's leading Flat racecourses, Newmarket Racecourses continues to offer excellent prize money and the investment in many of our key race-days and all of our Group 1 races reflects our ambition to remain at the fore. Our racing programme remains as strong as ever – in fact, it is enhanced for 2013 with the Abernant Stakes upgraded to Group 3 status and we are also staging an additional Listed race. The sizeable increases to many of our key prize funds should help ensure that domestic and international connections want to run top-class horses at the Rowley Mile and the July Course.”