Racing League: Doncaster hold £2m Thursday night opener with new format and extra prize money | Race News

The Racing League returns to Doncaster on Thursday night with a new and improved format for 2022.

In the league’s inaugural form, 14 teams raced under the banner of various sponsors, with Team TalkSPORT overcoming a 41-point deficit heading into the final night of action in Newcastle to lift the trophy.

But that has now been streamlined into seven regional teams who will compete for both glory and the £50,000 top prize. The format for 2022 will involve seven races per night over the six weeks of action, with a maximum field of 14, two riders each from the seven regional teams.

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Racing League chief executive Jeremy Wray says more than 100 Flat coaches have already declared their interest in this year’s competition, which includes regional teams, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Over 125 trainers have registered and been assigned to the seven teams, which also have seven jockeys to choose from and a team manager, whose responsibility will be to go through registrations and make selections.

“We have quite a few changes and I can’t wait to see how these play out,” Racing League CEO Jeremy Wray said.

“A lot of it came from feedback from last year’s event. We’ve always said last year was about putting a starting flag in the ground and then we were open to how we’re going to We were as open as possible and one thing came through a lot of courses, if you had a regional element, people could engage with it more and get to know their team.

“I’m actually pretty excited about the format we’ve come up with – two horses per race per region. William Hill has tried to price it and they can’t come up with what you want, a completely open tournament. I can to see any of the seven teams win, which is great.”

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Racing League chief executive Jeremy Wray has said the competition will be “bigger and better” in 2022 with the move to seven regional teams.

Wray is also delighted to see an increased number of trainers registering to participate this year, with the winning prize fund to be shared among the list of trainers in the winning region.

He continued: “Last year people thought that we had been a bit selective when choosing sneakers, but that was not the case. We had written to them all, but quite often during the first years of these things, people decide to sit on the sidelines and observe before you get involved.

“What’s great about this year is that we went through a pretty thorough process to make sure everyone had an opportunity. We wrote through Weatherbys to everyone who had a license, including jump coaches, and I’m thrilled that we have 125 -odd trainers who want to participate.

“Putting them into their regional homes took a bit of sorting out, but it worked out well. We had to reduce the number of jockeys involved slightly.

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Racing League team managers Kevin Blake (Ireland), Rupert Bell (The East) and Leonna Mayor (Yorkshire) react to the inaugural jockeys draft as last year’s top jockey Jack Mitchell leads the way hopes for the Bell team.

“We had a jockey draft and there are 49 jockeys, seven in each team, so it will be fun to see how that goes. So there are quite a few improvements that will hopefully add to the excitement of the whole Racing League.”

Another upgrade for Racing League version two is an increased prize pool of £2m, which equates to an additional £200,000.

There will be over £300,000 on offer at each of the seven meetings and with Racing League competitions open to horses rated no more than 90, Wray hopes the large premium on offer can entice owners who often race for minimal amounts away of the typical feature race days.

He said: “Prize money must be the hook for so many owners for whom racing is an expensive sport. They love it and if the Racing League is an opportunity for them to stretch the track of their involvement a bit, so that’s fantastic.

“For a lot of horses held in partnership, where colors aren’t as sacrosanct, and with the economics of horse racing being what it is, that’s a huge boost.

“Arena have been great; they’ve raised the prize money and that’s a bit remarkable for a midweek game. On a Thursday night and you’re running for over £300,000 a night over the six weeks.

“The owners are very involved and still get all the benefits of ownership. Certainly the owners who won last year enjoyed it a lot and got caught up in the whole tournament aspect. Something that we thought might actually retaining the owners in a real positive and hopefully we see more of that this year.”

Sky Sports

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