Sun | Aug 9, 2020

SVREL pumps more funds into Guineas

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 12:36 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
The 43rd running of the Jamaica 2000 Guineas on April 8, 2017 at Caymanas Park.
The 43rd running of the Jamaica 2000 Guineas on April 8, 2017 at Caymanas Park.

Despite Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) increasing their sponsorship of both races by $800,000 each, there has been a reduction in the purse for this year’s 46th staging of the 1000 and 2000 Guineas.

SVREL chairman Solomon Sharpe told The Gleaner yesterday that the prize money for this year’s first classic races are $2.8 million each. This represents a decrease of $700,000 compared to the $3.5 million that was in the bag last year.

In previous races, a sponsor would put up $1.5 million with the promoters adding $2 million to cover the purse. However, with sponsorship funds unavailable this year, SVREL has decided to increase their commitment in this area to $2.8 million.

“In previous years, the sponsorship was two million dollars from the promoters and $1.5 million from a sponsor. This year pre- COVID-19, we were about 70 per cent sure that the sponsor would have been on board,” Sharpe explained. “However, post COVID the sponsor indicated has that they no longer had those funds available.”

“We revisited the numbers and given the prestige of the race, we decided would put an additional eight hundred thousand dollars of SVREL money and so all of this purse money of $2.8 million per race for the 1000 and for the 2000 Guinness have all been put up by SVREL,” Sharpe said.

EIGHT FURLONGS

The 1000 Guineas for three-year-old fillies will be run over eight furlongs on Saturday, July 25, while the 2000 Guineas, which is contested by three-year-old colts and geldings over eight furlongs, will run on July 26.

Sharpe underlined that in spite the company’s continued financial struggles due to the COVID-19 influenced shutdown of the racing industry for three months, it was important that the high-profile races receive the additional support, given their significance on the racing calendar.

“These are prize races on the programme and so we are going to take a hit in our budget for it, but we think it is important for the horse-racing industry and we also think it is important for the owners who have invested in the racing,” said Sharpe. “They are going to be two of the most exciting races because they are the first part of the classics season and so we are looking forward to them.”

Meanwhile, Shane Ellis, president of the Jamaica Jockeys’ Guild, welcomed the sponsorship of both races by the betting company.

“I am pleased with this sponsorship by SVREL because it was two million dollars before and they have decided to add eight hundred thousand dollars to it and we are very happy about that,” Ellis said.

“This shows that the promoting company is very serious about racing and I know that the jockeys will be happy about this, especially in these times when sponsorship is hard to come by,” said the former champion jockey.