'We can't let our elite races look after themselves because they won't' – Ascot warning as royal meeting fails to attract stars from Far East

British racing faces an increasingly uphill battle to attract runners from outside Europe due to a widening gulf in prize-money, according to Ascot’s director of racing Nick Smith, who described the issue as “serious” for the sport.

Royal Ascot will be worth more than £10 million for the first time this month but the five-day meeting has failed to attract any high-profile horses from Japan and Hong Kong.

Smith believes this is due to the growth of the highly lucrative Middle Eastern programme and argues the lack of runners sheds a light on the need for the best British middle-distance races to receive a “cash injection” to remain competitive globally. 

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