Sturdy results crown excellent weekend for the Jockey Club
On the back of one of the most commercially successful Derby meetings in recent history, the Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horse racing, has announced equally encouraging financial results.
The Jockey Club, which owns and operates 14 leading racecourses in the UK as well as the National Stud breeding operation and training grounds and estates in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs, saw turnover rise by 8 per cent to UK£138 million in 2010.
Debt was reduced by UK£11.6 million over the year, following a period of investment in facilities, while over the same time period 60 per cent of the group's profits were injected into prize money.
In total, the group gave back UK£13 million in prize money to the sport last year, almost half the total sum of all UK racecourses' contribution to prize purses in 2010.
In its results announcement, the group pledged to increase that prize money figure to a record UK£15.7 million, before any abandoned fixtures.
Non-racing revenue, spurred by a growing number of concerts and other non-racing events across the Jockey Club's venues, increased by 20 per cent to UK£21.4 million last year.
The group delivered a total operating profit of UK£18.3 million for the year, but after depreciation and interest net profits remained flat on the previous year at UK£8.6 million.
“Our group performed well in 2010, in a year where the sport made progress on many levels, allowing us to increase our contribution back to British racing," said Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive at the Jockey Club. "Without the big freeze that brought the country to a halt, racecourse attendances were well up on the previous year and we saw other indicators of health, such as hospitality revenues, bouncing back.”
'With 1.8 million tickets sold in 2010,' explained the release announcing the figures, 'the Jockey Club’s racecourse arm welcomed a third of the UK’s total racing attendance, from hosting a quarter of the sport’s fixtures (346 from 374 scheduled). The group was on-course to deliver a healthy year-on-year growth in attendances until the ‘big freeze’ the UK suffered in the last quarter of 2010, which resulted in a net loss of 28 fixtures due to the severe bad weather. In 2010, Jockey Club Racecourses secured a strong race programme for 2011 of 366 fixtures, 20 more than staged last year.'
Just days before the announcement of the results, on the 3rd and 4th June, the Jockey Club played host to one of the most prestigious race meetings in the world, the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs.
Helped by excellent weather and the Queen's having a runner in the Derby itself, more than 150,000 people attended the two-day event.
Hospitality sales were up 25 per cent on last year, while Jockey Club Catering confirmed the sale of 14,000 bottles of champagne, 65,000 pints of lager, 35,000 pints of Pimms and 1,000 picnics across the two days.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular individual dish sold was the seafood platter.
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