The British Horseracing Board is pleased to announce that its Owners’ Premium Scheme, which it reluctantly suspended at the start of 2005, has been reinstated, with any payments due as a result of performances since the beginning of the suspension to be made retrospectively.
In the light of the European Court of Justice Judgement in November 2004, the Board had unanimously agreed in December that, along with a number of other prudent expenditure reductions, the Scheme should be suspended. It had been forecast that Scheme payments by BHB would reach £3.2m in 2005.
Following the Levy Board’s agreement to BHB’s request to allocate funding to the Scheme in 2005 and 2006, it has been possible to lift the suspension, although the reduced sums available will necessitate payments being made at a lower rate than in 2004.
The revised terms of the Scheme are that a 5% premium on the win and placed prize money due under Order 194, up to a maximum payment per race of £5,000 for a winner and £2,000 for a placed horse, will be made to eligible horses in the following races during 2005:
Two and three year olds in all Class 1 to 4 races and in Class 5 Maiden and Novice races. Prior to 26th March, when the Flat Classification System was revised, two and three year olds in all Class 1 to 3 races and in Class 4 Maiden and Novice races.
Horses from three to six years old in all Class A to D races, all Class E Novice, Maiden and Beginners’ Steeple Chases and Novice and Maiden Hurdle races, and all National Hunt Flat races. For fillies and mares, a 10% premium of the win and placed prize money, up to the maximum payments stated above, will be paid.
Registration of eligible yearlings, born in 2004, will be accepted between 1st June and 31st December 2005. It will also be possible to declare provisional eligibility for foals to be entered in the foal sales.
The Board has agreed to offer discounted registration fees to members of both the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the Racehorse Owners Association. The fees, which will go towards the administration of the Scheme only, will be:
Horses registered as yearlings:
• £32 per horse for TBA and ROA members
• £40 per horse for non-TBA and non-ROA members
Horses registered for provisional eligibility and sold as foals at Tattersalls, Doncaster Bloodstock Sales or Brightwells:
• £20 per horse for TBA and ROA members
• £25 per horse for non-TBA and non-ROA members
BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said today: “Given that the creation of the Owners’ Premium Scheme was BHB’s own initiative, it was disheartening that the Board had no alternative to suspension just as the Scheme had really begun to show its worth. However, we were determined to ensure that everything possible was done to lift the suspension as soon as possible.
“In response to our request, the Levy Board’s commitment to allocate funds to the Scheme in both 2005 and 2006 will be widely welcomed and provides important stability and continuity. We will continue to work closely with the TBA, ROA and Sales Houses to promote the Scheme and its support of British-bred horses.”