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BHA Announce Prize Money Shake Up and 6 Month Ban for Adrian McCarthy

Horse and SaddleAdrian McCarthy, a prolific winner on the Flat in the noughties who has won more than £1 million in prize money, has been banned from the saddle for six months after admitting taking cocaine.

A disciplinary meeting was held on Thursday to discuss the extent of the 42-year-old’s punishment, and authorities had no choice but to withdraw his licence for six months after he tested a staggering 1,000 times over the threshold limit for metabolites of cocaine.

That came followed a routine urine test at Chelmsford last October, and with the ban back-dated to then McCarthy can look forward to the new Flat season after going through a horrendous time of things.

He revealed that he has been battling alcohol and drug abuse, and had even attempted to take his own life at his lowest point after becoming ‘bored and depressed’ during lockdown.

McCarthy is now on medication to assist with his mental health and has undergone counselling, and he is ‘looking to the future’ as he preps for the new season while riding out for Newmarket trainers Darryll Holland and Peter Chapple-Hyam.

Placed Horses to Earn More After Prize Money Shake-Up

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A new prize money structure has been confirmed by the Racehorse Owners Association, and now horses that place in non-Pattern races will earn a bigger payout for their connections.

The changes will be rolled out in British racing from Saturday, with the second-placed horse in a race now receiving approximately half the prize money paid out to the winner.

And then the third and fourth-placed horses will receive roughly half of the money divvied out to the runner-up.

The upshot is that the owner of a second-placed horse will now take home around 25% of the available prize fund, which is an increase on the 16-17% they claimed under previous BHA rules. Third and fourth placers will see an increase from eight to thirteen percent and four to five percent respectively.

Where extra places are available, an agreed appearance fee – that’s £300 on the Flat and £350 over jumps – will be paid.

When totted up, that’s an extra £7.5 million that placed horses will earn their connections in a year that would otherwise have been paid to winners, and that is vital at a time when trainers – especially those operating smaller yards on a shoestring budget – are revealing crippling financial bills in the midst of the pandemic.

The chief executive of the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Charlie Liverton, commented on a simpler and fairer system for owners at all levels of the sport.

“Prize money is a huge, long-term challenge for owners and racing, and these changes are being made following feedback and consultation with owners. With the impact of COVID on racing, the ROA are working hard with industry colleagues to retain and attract owners and improving prize money distribution is a key part of that.

“The changes deliver what owners want: simplicity and fairness. Put simply, more owners can access a larger share of the prize money now. This improves earnings across the sport and enhances funding to the middle and lower tiers.

“We want to encourage people to stay in our sport and bring new participants in. To do that, the sport has to be an attractive proposition. Owners spend over £30m a month in training fees and collectively the industry needs to grow our income stream and ensure that owners receive a fair return through prizemoney.”