After signing a contract with the Qatari private investment company, QIPCO, horse racing’s inaugural British Champions Series could be a hit with a boycott over prize money.
The multi-million pound deal with QIPCO will mean that the company’s name is carried alongside the British Champions Series branding for the next two years and they will enjoy exclusive naming rights.
“We want to raise the international profile of QIPCO and the British Champions Series provides the perfect platform for the company to reach a wider audience,” said Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, chief executive of QIPCO Holding.
Karl Oliver, chief executive of British Champions Series, said: “We’re delighted to welcome QIPCO to partner British Flat racing on this journey towards a strong future for our sport. Qatar is demonstrating its ambition on the world stage and that makes QIPCO an excellent partner for British Champions Series.”
News of the boycott has been reported by English newspaper the Guardian, as journalist Matt Scott reveals that 35 of the races in the series are facing a widespread walkout over prize money.
A group that represents professional interests in racing, The Horseman’s Group, has set a minimum tariff for prize money in races and it follows Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin team already threatening to pull out of every single underfunded race on the list. A Champions Series board member confirmed that would includes “many” on the list.
The horseracing industry does love a squabble and this one will likely play out for a while yet if the levy debate is anything to go by.