Towcester will be racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from January but will also continue with their Saturday morning meeting – and all with boosted prize money. Track boss Kevin Ackerman also revealed that they were thwarted in their attempt to secure the Laurels writes Floyd Amphlett.

The Northamptonshire racecourse have announced that they finally signed their new media rights deal earlier this week which will give their owners and trainers long term security.

Although sprint prize money has increased, there has been an increased emphasis on improved benefits for the standard and stayers races. Other changes include switching the Saturday morning meeting to six-runner fields and prioritising Saturday evening for the major open race competitions.

That could have started as early as this December when the track offered to stage the Laurels as a category one event with £10,000 to the winner.

Ackerman said: “I spoke to Clive Feltham and told him we were interested but he explained that he had already agreed with Joe O’Donnell (ARC) that they had first option.

“Best of luck to them, we will have plenty of other events to keep us busy. My only observation would be this – when events are of such huge historical importance to the industry, and category one competitions, if a track decides not to stage them, would it not be in the sport’s best interests for them to be handed over to the governing body? That way, it would be up to the tracks to bid the best package.

“But I want to make it clear, that is not a criticism of Clive Feltham, who did exactly that with the most important event of all, the English Derby. Nor is it any type of swipe at Newcastle. Many people will feel that the calendar for top class events is already too Southern based. But I think the principle is important.

“Certainly horse racing would its major races as sacrosanct. Maybe greyhound racing has become a bit brainwashed by the bookmakers into believing that graded racing is paramount, when in fact, graded racing relies on its prestige events for the continuation of breeding and ownership.”