Prize money boycott at ARC tracks continues.
MERSEYSIDE-BORN trainer Donald McCain hit out at Arena Racing Company's prize-money levels after declaring the sole runner in a race at Sedgefield tomorrow, as the Durham track became the latest to be hit by a boycott from trainers.
ARC announced in December it was cutting back on its prize money contributions as the operator prepares for an expected shortfall in the levy because of betting shop closures following the Government's decision to lower the maximum FOBT stake from PS100 to PS2. This decision has been met with dismay by many trainers and the situation came to a head last weekend after two races at Lingfield were boycotted - with no runners declared in one and Nick Littmoden's Greybychoice enjoying a walkover in another.
In a temporary move, ARC announced it was reallocating prize money to increase funds in the lowergrade races, but that move has not appeased everyone in the training fraternity - with Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett calling on his fellow trainers to boycott meetings at ARC tracks for three days next week.
And now trainers have combined to stage an unexpected boycott at Sedgefield this weekend, with Wasowski - owned and trained by McCain - the only horse in the Watch Sky Sports Racing In HD Handicap Hurdle from 23 original entries, meaning another walkover. McCain said: "I've been asked to support it (the boycott) and I have. This not just a new thing. ARC haven't been putting enough money into the game for many years - it's shameful."