Jockey Club looks to sell £15m bond to racing fans

The Jockey Club is to tap the retail bond market to part finance the redevelopment of Cheltenham racecourse's main grandstand.

The club, whose 15 tracks also include Newmarket, Aintree and Epsom, also today unveils a record £150m turnover, up 8 per cent, and £20m of operating profits. It wants the results to act as a springboard for the bond offer to contribute more than £15m to the £45m redevelopment costs.

The five-year bond, which is seeking investments of between £2,000 and £100,000, will pay 4.75 per cent annually, plus 3 per cent redeemable in "Rewards4Racing" points, which can be offset against tickets or hospitality at Jockey Club tracks.

The Club's results were turned in despite hosting 29 fewer fixtures, largely because of adverse weather. This resulted in 26 meetings being cancelled and lower crowds at some of those which did go ahead.

The organisation also pumped £16.5m into prize money.

With flat racing reeling just weeks into a new turf season over a doping scandal affecting 11 horses trained by Mahmood al-Zarooni, one of the two trainers for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation, the results will be seen as timely.

Simon Bazalgette, the Jockey Club's chief executive, hailed the results as a major achievement given the inclement weather in 2012 and Britain's continuing economic struggles.

He added: "Launching the first retail bond in British sport is a win-win for all – a highly-efficient means for us to raise capital while also getting closer than ever to our customers."

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