The Racing League’s innovative new concept to horse racing was announced in early March and since word leaked out about its new dynamic take on racing, excitement has grown immensely. The Racing League will combine the intrigue of sports teams and leagues with the fast-paced action of horse racing. It is something that has never been seen prior in the sport and could completely revolutionise it. The concept will bring together a number of different horses all competing for the incredible overall prize purse of £2 million. From Cheltenham favourites to Grand National competitors, the Racing League has the potential to be the biggest event in horse racing.
What is the Racing League?
The Racing League is made up of 12 teams who will compete in 36 horse races staged over the course of six weeks. The league’s events will be run on consecutive Thursdays during its season with Sky Sports holding the United Kingdom television rights. Each race will be handicapped at £50,000 in prize money for a total of £1.8m for all six events.
Each team competing in the Racing League is large with points being earned for a team rather than an individual horse. The Racing League is akin to Formula One with a focus on the concept of team. The teams will be made up of two to four trainers and three jockeys. Teams will have a pool of 30 horses to select from for each of the 36 races. Teams must declare their pool of 30 horses three weeks before the Racing League begins.
How do teams earn points?
The horse and jockey which win each race earn 25 points for their team. Second place receives 18 points with third place obtaining 15 points. As in Formula One, the top 10 finishers will obtain points for their performances. If a team or jockey does not perform well in a race, they can be replaced for the next event by any of the others in the team’s pool of riders and horses.
As in other team sports, the team with the most points at the end of the six-week season will win the Racing League championship. The championship team will earn a bonus money prize that will be shared amongst all of the members of the team, which includes stable staff. Similar to Formula E, a fan vote will be used and it is the public who will vote for the bonus winner.
Revolutionising horse racing
The Racing League has been frowned upon by many horse racing traditionalists. However, horse racing has seen a decline in viewership and interest compared to other sports in the UK over the last decade.
The concept should bring a new level of excitement to the sport. In the same way that the Indian Premier League altered cricket by making it easy to view a match in just three hours, the Racing League can engage fans like never before.
Fixtures will take place during a six-week period in July and August at top racecourses including Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle, and Royal Windsor. Races will be over held over five-furlongs and one-and-half miles.