The struggling Jersey Race Club say they are hopeful a new corporate sponsorship deal will keep racing at Les Landes alive - and that could mean a new name for the St. Ouen course.
The deal could operate the same way that the Jersey Rugby Club's ground in St. Peter has a bank in its title.
Last month, the 188-year-old club admitted that it was in a perilous position and launched a fundraising campaign on justgiving.com.
Its UK-based president Mark Johnson also stepped down at the beginning of August.
The club has also asked members to pay next year’s fees early in order to meet its fixed costs, including maintaining the St. Ouen’s course and paying two full-time members of staff.
Pictured: There has been no horse racing at Les Landes this year due to the pandemic.
Like many sporting organisations, the JRC has been hit hard by the covid pandemic, with all nine of its meetings cancelled this year.
But Vice-President Hugh Raymond said that there had been some encouraging developments since then.
“The trouble is the club is a non-for-profit so any money we raise, we have to spend,” he said. “So, we have created a Patrons’ Club, which is a separate charitable body that is able to hold funds on behalf of the JRC."
Pictured: As well as being Deputy for Trinity, Hugh Raymond is Vice-President of the Jersey Race Club.
He continued: “That has given us the ability to approach organisations such as corporates to offer long-term arrangements, and we are very encouraged by the response. It means, for instance, that the course could have a corporate name, like the Rugby Club’s ground, and we could extend sponsorship to the commentators’ box, fences, parade ring and inside the marquees.
“That’s in addition to the individual races, where the community has really stepped up. We already have sponsors for 25 of 45 races scheduled for next year.”
Mr Raymond said that the JRC costs around £100,000 a year to run, mainly because it has full responsibility and liability for the upkeep of the course, which is held on a 99-year lease from the States.
Thank you so much all those that have donated; we’ve raised over £15,000 so far! We are so grateful to everyone that has sent money, through membership packages, donations & on the crowdfunding page. The future for racing in Jersey is looking good ???????????? https://t.co/DBU6Fs3Crv— Jersey Race Club (@jerseyraceclub) August 12, 2020
Pictured: The JRC has launched a fundraising appeal.
“I am optimistic for the future but we still need to hit our fundraising targets,” he said. “In addition to providing entertainment for thousands of locals and visitors each year, the JRC also supports six trainers with 54 horses, their staff, caterers, marquee companies, farriers and other Jersey-based professionals.
“Also, whereas a larger UK course will benefit from betting income, we’re not only prohibited from that but also we’re too small a course to be a viable prospect for the cameras.”
Last month, Express reported that an author who specialises in horse racing is hoping to write a book on the history of the sport in Jersey, adding that he hoped that money could be found to save the JRC, not least because its Les Landes course is one of the most beautiful he had ever visited.
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