Towcester promoter Kevin Boothby has responded, on a personal basis, to an observation by Rab McNair concerning the potential devaluation of open racing.

The Kent based assistant trainer said: “It is good to see graded prize money increasing; it is long overdue. My concern is this, if you get an A5 graded dog running for £50 for finishing last, what is the incentive for an open race trainer to spend three or four hours traveling and use half a tank of diesel to take a dog worth £15K to run for the same money?

“Most opens now pay £50 for the also-rans and the trainers are probably being paid a £20 bonus from the track. Surely to God every open runner should be worth £100 for turning up? As for the competitions, £5,000 for a Category One winner? That’s just taking the piss.”

(Category status was introduced in January 1992. Allowing for inflation, the £5,000 first prize should now be £10,850. Of the 28 Category One finals staged so far this year, only three would reach that threshold)

Towcester/Henlow promoter Boothby responded: “I would always plan to keep a distance between graded and open race prize money. As an owner myself, I think the faster dogs should be rewarded.

“At Towcester, all our Category One finals, including the Empress Stakes which starts this weekend, have now been upgraded to £12,500 to the winner – something that seldom gets acknowledged.

“We are also paying £60 to ‘others’ in the open races and we continued to pay the £15 to trainers. Most tracks don’t do that, and even those that do, dropped it during Covid and haven’t brought it back as far as I am aware.”