Jockey Sean Levey slams 'absolute peanuts' prize money in UK horse racing

TOP jockey Sean Levey has slammed the 'absolute peanuts' prize money on offer in UK horse racing.

Aside from marquee races often at the likes of Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood or Cheltenham Festival, contests on these shores find themselves lagging behind rivals in terms of cash.

It has led to a number of trainers seeking opportunities in Ireland, France and further afield.

The world's richest horse race, the £14.5million Saudi Cup, takes place in Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh.

Top jockey Levey, 33, won the 1000 Guineas on 66-1 outsider Billesdon Brook in 2018, scooping £310,487 for connections.

But he says that money was a one-off and that run of the mill races taking place up and down the country every day are for comparative 'peanuts'.

Levey told The Big Chill podcast: "You have more and more races without any quality in all of it.

"And with quality should be prize money. They are spreading the whole thing thinner and thinner and thinner.

"Now it's becoming more difficult for jockeys. You're earning more out of your riding fee than you ever are winning anything.

"Personally, less racing is great because more racing only helps the people in the bookies who are punting more.

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"We don't benefit from it because what we're running for is absolute peanuts – as opposed to any other country in the world.

"If you look at America, if I was a jockey there I wouldn't ride every day that's for sure.

"I'd ride big racing on the weekend and maybe have to travel to one big race during the week.

"But then, if there's a 12-race card on the day you're looking at a claimer minimum pot of 80 grand.

"Whereas over here you can race every single day, guaranteed three meetings on a day, and you're running for an average of £2,500 a race, minus the big pots which you'll only see on weekends somewhere."

World’s richest horse races

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (£2.7m)

Winner's prize: £1.7m

Where? France

Melbourne Cup (£4.1m)

Winner's prize: £2.32m

Where? Australia

Breeders' Cup Classic (£4.2m)

Winner's prize: £2.34m

Where? USA

Japan Cup (£4.45m)

Winner's prize: £2.17m

Where? Japan

The Everest (£8.25m)

Winner's prize: £3.57m

Where? Australia

Dubai World Cup (£9.25m)

Winner's prize: £5.69m

Where? Dubai

Saudi Cup (£14.5m)

Winner's prize: £7.3m

Where? Saudi Arabia

Asked if he had thought of moving elsewhere to ride, Levey added: "One hunderd per cent.

"Before I moved to England [after going to Ireland from his native Swaziland, now Eswatini], we blagged it and went to America.

"I look back on it now and I regret never trying to get a visa and try to ride out there.

"England is quite difficult because if you do leave it's very hard to come back into it.

"You're waiting to go bad before you can make the jump somewhere else."

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