Cheltenham are still sonsidering the possiblility of having the festival run onto a Saturday. Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham Racecourses Managing Director, indicated that he would welcome suggestions for extra races at the 2011 Festival, while the question of The Festival embracing a Saturday continues on the agenda though any move would have to be justified by the prospect of a better commercial return on that day, something which does not look likely at the moment with higher hospitality income on weekdays.
Cheltenham Racecourse today announced prize money of 5.77 million for the 2009/2010 season, which starts with The Showcase on Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17. This works out at an average of 52,500 for the 110 races over Cheltenham s 17 racedays and, during the four days of The Festival in March, 130,000 per race.
Simon Claisse, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, commented: The total prize money is only just shy of last seasons record level. Yesterday saw the first rainfall here for five weeks. The irrigators have been putting on about two inches of water a week and this will continue - the current ground conditions are good to firm. Claisse announced that there will be no additional races for the 2010 Festival, with six races on March 16 and 18 and seven on March 17 and 19, while prize money will remain at current levels for the five main championships races, headed by the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at 475,000.
Cheltenham is in advance discussions with the tote about the continuation of this sponsorship which started back in 1980. Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham Racecourses Managing Director, remarked: It is all good news about the tote sponsorship continuing. We strongly believe that all five main championship races relate together in value. We have a plan in place to move those values upwards.