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Horse racing-Coronavirus hits British Champions Day…

Aug 6 – The total prize money for this year’s season-ending British Champions Day at Ascot race course has been cut by about 40%, to 2.5 million pounds ($3.28 million), due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain’s richest raceday, which will be held on Oct. 17, paid out a total of 4.2 million pounds in prize money last year.

This year’s Champion Stakes, the biggest race of the day, will be run for 750,000 pounds, down from more than 1.3 million pounds last year.

“We are pleased to be able to stage a card worth 2.5 million pounds… despite our income streams being so negatively affected and the enormous challenges facing the sport currently,” chief executive Rod Street said in a statement

The prize purses for all the races on the supporting card have also fallen, although the event has managed to retain its position as the richest raceday in the UK.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes will be run for 650,000 pounds, down from 1.1 million pounds last year, while the prize money for the Fillies and Mares Stakes and Champions Sprint Stakes has shrunk 36%, to 350,000 pounds, this year.

The Long Distance Cup and Balmoral will be run for 300,000 pounds and 100,000 pounds, down from 450,000 pounds and 250,000 pounds, respectively, last year.

Horse racing returned to Britain on June 1 without spectators after being suspended in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It was not immediately clear if some fans would be allowed to attend this year’s event.

($1 = 0.7620 pounds) (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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