Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding praises Racing League initiative as it enters the halfway stage
Andrew Balding believes racing can use the initiative of the Racing League to push the sport further forward.
The Park House handler is part of Team Thoroughbid with fellow trainer Richard Hannon and jockey’s Sean Levey, Hayley Turner and current champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
At the halfway stage of the six week competition, the Kingsclere-based trainer has been impressed with the format of it all and the prize money that comes with success.
“Once they guaranteed the prize money you can’t run in 0-90s for that prize money anywhere else, that is why we were keen to support it.
“The prize money is important to anyone, to any normal person, because they have to balance the books out by the end of the season and the more the prize money, then the more the attraction is for every owner as well.”
A total of £1.8m is on offer, which equals to £50,000 for each race, and the money is distributed to owners, trainers and jockeys, while the Racing League champions will receive a winning team bonus too.
“My owners, the ones who have attended, have really enjoyed the whole concept because it is something a little different.
“It has a different atmosphere on the racecourse and I think there is room for something like this within the season.
“I think as a concept it has some legs,” he said. “I think they have been a little bit unlucky to be clashing with Goodwood and York and perhaps the timing wasn’t great to be promoting awareness with so much else going on, but apart from that I think it has gone pretty good.”
Balding also feels that the competitiveness has cranked up in the sport because of the Racing League as a result of the prize money and the team’s people are in.
“It is a different feel,” he said. “It’s not very often that I am cheering on Richard Hannon’s runners, although he is a great mate of mine.
“As we’re in a team, we want his horses to score as much points as they can to elevate us in the league and from that point of view, it is a little different.”
The trainer is currently leading the championship due to another fine season and he believes racecourses, in particular, can benefit from initiatives like the Racing League.
“I think it is part of the evolution of what race tracks can offer, as and when a two tiered system comes about.
“It is certainly an avenue that racecourses can explore for them to increase their revenues.”