Leading sponsor William Hill is restructuring the Greyhound Derby prize money for 2016, with an enhanced pot of over £300,000 being distributed across all six rounds of the competition, boosting the prize money for the heats by up to six times. Along with the GRA, William Hill has also laid out the format for next year’s competition, with the first round qualification clarified according to how many entries are received.
In the prize money restructure, there have been increases across the board for all the heats, with greyhounds reaching the second round guaranteed to win their entry fee back by combined first and second round also-ran money of £250. Third round winners receive £550 – equivalent to most one-off Open race prizes on Sky. Quarter-Finalists win £1,000 (more than four times last year’s prize of £225) and Semi-Finalists win £3,000, the equivalent to winning the richest one-off Opens or a Category Two competition.
The winner’s prize will now be £150,000. The second is £20,000, third £15,000, fourth £12,500, fifth £11,000 and sixth £10,000. Greyhounds reaching the final will win a minimum of £12,000 in total (minimum if qualifying through each round without winning and coming sixth in the final).
Explaining the changes, William Hill’s Racing Sponsorship Manager Jennie Prest said, “We’ve listened to a lot of feedback from the last few years and the two most prominent comments were regarding the prize money for the heats and the structure of the first round.”
“Last year, some dogs that made it through to the quarter-finals hadn’t even won enough to cover their entry fee and travel. We want to fairly reward those who do achieve a lot in the competition and offer prize money throughout that properly reflects the country’s leading competition. The winner’s money increases over the last few years have been fantastic, but now we’ve taken that pot and distributed it better across the whole competition. There hasn’t been a reduction in the total prize money at all, in fact the whole pool is slightly bigger.”
Following on from last year’s record entries, steps have also been put in to place to ensure clarity around the competition format for 2016. Any less than 192 entries will see six dog races with three, four or five (if less than 144 entries) dogs qualifying to make up the number to the second round 96, as in previous years. Entries between 192 and 288 will require heats with two or three dogs qualifying, up to the maximum 288 which will mean 48 six-dog heats with two qualifying through. All races will be six dog races where possible, with five dog races only used when numbers dictate the need.
The biggest difference would be if the entries top 288. In this case, the entries will be graded, on form, and the top 288 greyhounds will start in the first round and the balloted out greyhounds will get their entry fee back. Adding in an extra round was considered but it was concluded it was impractical for a number of reasons, including scheduling. A minimum of 234 dogs would be required to fill an extra round and prior to this year’s starting number of 255 the previous record entry was 222.
“We also appreciated from last year that connections wanted more clarity around the first round format, given the unpredictability of the number of entries. We really want to do everything we can to keep this as a truly open competition, over 288 entries would be unprecedented so we think it’s unlikely, but maximum entry limit is there as a contingency. Connections entering their dogs for 2016 will now be clear what is expected in the first round, depending on how many entries are received, and it may be a factor in deciding whether to enter a dog or not.”
PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN FOR THE WILLIAM HILL GREYHOUND DERBY 2016
Over £300k total prize money, prize increases across all heats
entry fee back if reaching second round
over 4 x increase to both quarters and 6 x increase to semi-final winner’s prize, with semi-finals equivalent to richest one-off Finals or Cat 2 competitions winner’s purse.
Enhanced place money for finalists, minimum total winnings of £12k for a greyhound reaching the final.
All six dog races unless numbers dictate the requirement for some five dog heats.
Less than 144: four or five dogs qualify through.
Between 144 – 191: anywhere between 24 and 32 six dog first round heats, with between three and four qualifying from each heat.
Perfect’ scenario 192 dogs: 32 six dog first round heats, three qualify from each heat
Between 192 – 288 dogs: Between 32 and 48 six dog heats with two or three to qualify through from each heat. Heats for two dog qualify to be randomly drawn and depending on numbers will be allocated as five dog heats
204 dogs – 34 heats. 28 heats where 3 dogs qualify = 84 dogs and 6 heats where 2 dogs qualify = 12 dogs TOTAL 96
240 dogs – 40 heats. 16 heats where 3 dogs qualify = 48 dogs and 24 heats where 2 dogs qualify = 48 dogs TOTAL 96
More than 288 – dogs will be graded (by form) as to those that will take part to a maximum of 288.