FURIOUS racehorse trainers have boycotted a race for the first time in three years – because of an explosive row over prize money.
The final race at Newbury on Saturday failed to attract any runners as trainers moved en masse to take their runners out.
A near sellout crowd is expected at the Reading track with Craig David playing a set after racing has finished.
The Racing Post said the move not to have any runners in a 1m2f race 'embarrassed' Newbury racecourse.
A total purse of £6,500 was on offer for the race for fillies aged three or older and 13 horses were initially entered.
But none remained after the final declarations stage at 10am on Thursday.
Trainers Ralph Beckett and Roger Varian confirmed they scratched their runners due to the cash on offer, with £3,510 set to go to the winner.
Beckett, trainer of Irish Derby winner and now odds-on King George favourite Westover, said: "Trainers have decided, it seems, that £3,500 for the winner of a novice at Newbury isn’t enough for them to run.
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"It’s a Grade 1 track and it’s a Saturday afternoon.
"I decided to declare my horse to run elsewhere and presumably – I have no idea because trainers are independent creatures – they have decided to take the same view.
"The race was originally carded to be worth £5,300 in total and Newbury added to it after the entry stage, but it clearly wasn’t enough. It was too little too late.
"I believe there was some correspondence from one trainer with the racecourse when the conditions were published a month ago."
Varian said the money was 'simply not good enough for a Group 1 track on a Saturday afternoon' – three years after a race at Lingfield was also snubbed due to a row over prize money.
While Luke Morris, who looks to have a live Arc de Triomphe contender in Alpinista, said the money on offer was a 'disgrace'.
Billionaire racehorse owner and breeder Kirsten Rausing, who scratched one of her runners from the race, said she would do it again in the future 'when necessary'.
While owner Craig Bennett said: "If a premier racecourse like Newbury thinks it can get away with putting on races like that with that sort of prize-money then they are badly mistaken."
Newbury racecourse boss Julian Thick said: "It’s disappointing this has happened and at a time when the industry needs to pull together."
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