Just 17 runners at Lingfield meeting

ONLY 17 runners have been declared for six races at Lingfield tomorrow as repercussions of the row over prize-money levels rumble on.

Tomorrow's meeting at Lingfield is the subject of a boycott by trainers as racing's prize money row continues.

Arena Racing Company – owners of Doncaster – announced in December they were cutting back on their contributions as the operators prepare for an expected shortfall in the levy because of anticipated betting shop closures following the Government’s decision to lower the maximum Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) stake from £100 to £2.

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This decision has been met with dismay by many trainers, owners and jockeys, and the situation came to a head last month when two races at Lingfield were boycotted.

Another race at Sedgefield on Sunday was reduced to a walkover, and Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett was among those keen to take further action at meetings at ARC tracks for three days this week.

However, there was a positive development on Saturday evening when ARC and the National Trainers Federation issued a joint-statement in which ARC committed to unlocking extra funds for all eligible races in March. Another ARC course, Fontwell, is also due to race tomorrow with final declarations not due until 10am as talks continue between the racecourse group and industry leaders.