A year of constructive political activity for BHB and continued advances in self-help for Racing are among the events of 1998 recorded in the British Horseracing Board’s Annual Report, published on 10th June 1999.
Among the 1998 highlights were:
* The launch of BHB’s Financial Plan for British Racing, followed by discussions with Government on ways in which it might be implemented, in the course of which BHB explained the dynamics, finances and structural weaknesses of the Racing and Breeding industry
* Record prize money of almost £63.7m, up nearly 6% on 1997, mainly due to a 12% increase in racecourses’ contribution and despite a reduction in the Levy Board’s contribution
* A rise in average racecourse attendance for the third successive year
* An increase of 7% in attendance at Sunday fixtures, at which average field sizes rose by 15%
* The approval by the Board of a series of changes to the BHB’s constitution, which took effect in May 1999 and which will achieve a stronger, more democratic and representative Governing Authority and bring greater equality, efficiency and professionalism to the management of British Racing
* BHB Race Planning’s ongoing policy of maximum flexibility, again featuring the rescheduling of a number of races when racing was abandoned at their original venues
* A continuing positive return on the Board’s marketing investment
* The approval of the Code of Conduct for Jockeys’ Sponsorship
* The publication of detailed guidelines designed to assist would-be investors in new racecourses
* Further progress by BHTB in widening the scope of Industry Training
* BHB’s contribution of £100,000 to Emergency Relief for Thoroughbreds, a new charity launched by the Racehorse Owners Association
* The Countryside March, at which Racing had a sizeable representation
* The launch of BHB’s new, acclaimed website, www.bhb.co.uk
* Increases in administrative fees for the Industry in 1999 restricted to no more than the rate of inflation
The Report contains the Board’s Summarised Financial Statements, which show that a post-tax surplus of £28,000 was achieved in the Racing Administration Fund in 1998. Cost-effectiveness led to savings of £130,000 in the Field Force budget, which will be used partially to finance further investment in technology with the remainder being returned to the Horserace Betting Levy Board.
The Report also includes a statement by BHB’s Chairman, Peter Savill, a Review of the Year by Chief Executive Tristram Ricketts and the membership of BHB’s Committees and Groups. There are sections reviewing the work of the Industry Committee and the areas of Race Planning, Marketing, Finance, Taxation and International Liaison. The activities of the British Horseracing Training Board are also described.
The Board is, as usual, publishing a short Summary Report which, in the interests of accountability and communication with the Industry, will be distributed to all active racehorse owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, and stable staff.
BHB’s revised Aims are attached in full to this release.
As the Governing Authority for Racing, we will promote the interests of our sport and industry in whatever way we can. Working alongside others within the Racing, Breeding and Betting Industries, we will build on Britain’s reputation for providing the most exciting and competitive racing in the world.
We want to attract more people to go racing. We want more people to become owners. We want to make Racing as exciting as we can for those who want to bet. We want the best possible training and working conditions for those employed in the industry. We want the highest possible standards of care for horses. We want to build on the success in attracting bigger crowds and swelling prize money by putting Racing on to the soundest possible financial footing, combining creative self-help initiatives with the injection of a higher proportion of betting turnover. We want to make sure that British Racing can compete internationally on equal terms, with world-wide recognition that the British Thoroughbred Breeding Industry produces animals of the highest quality. We want the future of Racing to be decided to a greater degree by the industry itself.
In our campaign to make Racing even stronger we will aim to be open and accountable and strive to balance the interests of everyone in Racing. We want British Horseracing to be the best in the world in every respect.
Specifically, we will work:
* To implement the Financial Plan for British Racing by securing (i) a significant increase in the percentage of horserace betting turnover flowing to Racing; (ii) the legislation required to permit simulcasting with all forms of betting and the development of suitable gaming facilities at racecourses; and (iii) the agreement of Government to hold a comprehensive review of gambling legislation so that detailed consideration can be given to, in particular, the deregulatory measures needed to widen the distribution of the horserace betting product beyond licensed betting offices.
* To secure an annual prize money pool equal to at least 50% of the total keep and training costs incurred by racehorse owners.
* To make British Racing more competitive internationally.
* To secure the replacement of the horserace betting levy system with a commercial mechanism between, and acceptable to, Racing and the Betting Industry, and thus to Government. Pending this legislative change to influence, through BHB’s nominees on the Horserace Betting Levy Board, the raising and spending of the Levy.
* To help enhance the Tote’s contribution to Racing through working closely with it, and to secure, in the best interests of Racing and the Tote, legislation to transfer the Tote to BHB.
* To ensure that adequate funds are available to the Jockey Club for the protection of the integrity of Racing.
* To develop and manage flexibly, with racecourses, an annual Fixture List and competitive race programme which best meet the needs of racehorse owners, breeders, racegoers, punters, the Betting Industry and the media in a balanced manner which maximises Racing’s income.
* To develop and maintain sufficiently-funded plans for the marketing and promotion of Racing in order to increase industry revenue through creating new customers; raise the public profile of the sport in a positive way; and establish marketing best-practice to raise industry standards.
* To maximise, for the benefit of Racing, the Board’s income from its rights and assets, whilst having regard to the need to secure the widest exposure for the sport.
* To ensure, in the context of encouraging and influencing value for money throughout Racing, that BHB and the Jockey Club provide cost-effective quality services to Racing, using new technology where appropriate.
* To develop, co-ordinate and maintain, through the British Horseracing Training Board, programmes of training and education for the Racing and Breeding Industries which promote high standards of work and horsecare and encourage the industry to invest in its workforce.
* To provide a race planning framework within which the breeding of quality bloodstock in Great Britain is stimulated; to support an adequately funded Breeders’ Prizes Scheme; and to help promote, alongside other Breeding Industry initiatives, the quality of British bred and sold bloodstock, in order to compete effectively for a profitable share of the international bloodstock market.
* To promote high standards of care for horses within the Racing and Breeding Industries.
* To maintain public support of, and investment by, key customer groups in Racing and Breeding by safeguarding and promoting Racing’s public image at home and abroad.