Following an extensive review of the existing Bloodstock Code of Practice by a bloodstock industry working group, a new Code of Practice will take effect from January 1st 2009.
The original Code came into effect on 1st August 2004, following a Bloodstock Summit meeting that took place in April 2004. The Code drew upon existing publications – the Orders and Rules of Racing, the Guides for Buyers (published by both DBS and Tattersalls in their catalogues), the Federation of Bloodstock Agents’ Code of Ethics and the existing ROA/NTF training agreements.
The membership of the 2007/8 Code of Practice Working Group was as follows:
Nic Coward (British Horseracing Authority) [Chairman]
Dena Arstall (Racehorse Owners Association)
Ted Voute (representing the consignors)
Henry Beeby (Doncaster Bloodstock Sales and Goffs Ireland)
Geoffrey Howson (Federation of Bloodstock Agents)
Rupert Arnold (National Trainers Federation)
Martin Mitchell (Tattersalls)
Andrew Mead (Federation of Bloodstock Agents)
Louise Kemble (Thoroughbred Breeders Association)
Rhydian Morgan-Jones (Thoroughbred Breeders Association)
James Oldring (British Horseracing Authority)
The key difference with the revised Code of Practice is that the process for the reporting of complaints has been reworked. Previously, any alleged breaches of the Code could only be reported to the Authority (or Jockey Club/HRA as it was at the time). Now, any complaint should be reported first to the sales house, or any of the FBA, TBA, ROA or NTF. Specific personal contacts have been given within the Code of Practice. This is to ensure a problem can be dealt with at a ‘local level’ before being escalated. In some cases, for example, the sales company/trade body can offer to mediate where appropriate.
The Code of Practice fundamentally deals with the relationship between anyone acting as agent and their principal; it outlines the minimum standards and levels of care that should be adhered to in order that all transactions, whether at public auction or private, are fair, open and ultimately leave all parties satisfied.
Nic Coward, Chief Executive of the Authority and Chair of the Code of Practice Working Group said:
“It was under very sad circumstances, following the death of Chris Deuters, that I undertook the chairmanship of this Group – and the development of this new Code of Practice is testament to his talent, and the level of respect that he inspired in others. It is always extremely rewarding to work on a project that sees those with differing opinions able to work together for the benefit of the sport. It has taken some time, but the bloodstock industry has pulled together to create this new Code, and I’d like to pay tribute to all members of the Working Group who gave up so much of their time to ensure that Britain continues to set the standard to which other racing nations aspire. This is a Code of Practice drawn up by the bloodstock industry, for the bloodstock industry.”
Henry Beeby, Group Chief Executive of Goffs and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, said:
“The Bloodstock Industry Code of Practice provides a clear and concise point of reference for everyone involved in buying and selling horses whether at public auction or privately as it makes clear what is and is not acceptable behaviour from buyers and sellers.
“The industry has taken the responsible approach and carried out regular reviews so that the Code keeps pace with an ever-changing world. The Code is just one way that ensures that our auctions are the safest and most transparent way of conducting bloodstock business”
Dena Arstall, representing the Racehorse Owners’ Association commented:
“I think that the new Code empowers people. Under the original Code they might ask themselves ‘do I really want to make a complaint to the governing authority, is it that serious, and do I want to escalate this?’ However, now they are in a position to take impartial advice from people that can relate to their situation directly. If the need for mediation arises, then the trade body or sales company can offer this – the industry is self-regulating and taking responsibility, which can only be a positive thing.”
3rd December 2008.
Notes for Editors
For more information on this release please contact James Oldring at the British Horseracing Authority on 0207 152 0047.
A copy of the Bloodstock Industry Code of Practice can be found below
THE BLOODSTOCK INDUSTRY CODE OF PRACTICE
The Code of Practice sets out the principles which apply to all sales of bloodstock and sales of stallion shares and nominations, be they private sales or sales at public auction. The intention is to ensure that sales of bloodstock in Britain not only comply with the law, but operate to the highest standards of integrity and transparency, and safeguard the interests of vendors, consignors, bloodstock agents, owners, trainers and the sales companies.
• “Agent” means any trainer, consignor, bloodstock agent, racing or stud manager or other person or entity who represents a Principal in the sale or purchase of bloodstock, stallion shares and nominations, whether the Agent is paid by way of retainer, commission or other forms of remuneration, or has ongoing financial arrangements (for example the payment of management or training fees), or not.
• “Principal” means a person or entity who appoints an Agent to act as agent on his behalf in the sale or purchase of bloodstock, stallion shares and nominations as in the definition above.
For clarification, words importing the masculine gender shall include the feminine.
1. An Agent owes a duty to his Principal to act at all times in accordance with his Principal’s best interests.
2. An Agent shall not place himself in a position where personal interests conflict with the duty to his Principal. In particular, an Agent shall not use his position to benefit from a secret payment or secret profit, which means any payment or benefit in kind received by an Agent that is not disclosed to his Principal.
3. When an Agent acts as a vendor or part-vendor and sells or intends to sell any horse in which he has an interest to a Principal, or intended Principal, the Agent must disclose to his Principal, before completion, the full extent of that ownership or interest and the benefit to be derived from that transaction.
4. If an Agent acts for more than one Principal in a transaction (which might be both the vendor and purchaser), the Agent can only do so if he has first disclosed this fact, before completion, to all his Principals, and obtained their consent.
5. An Agent must notify his Principal, wherever possible in advance, when a conflict of interest could arise, such as transactions involving third parties with whom he has a retainer, transactions where he is aware he will benefit from a third party, or transactions concerning horses which he has previously purchased or been involved with.
6. An Agent shall disclose to his Principal and, if required, account to his Principal for any Luck Money paid to him by or on behalf of a vendor. “Luck Money” means any financial payment or payment in kind made by or on behalf of a vendor to a Purchaser or his Agent, after the sale of a horse has been concluded. The practice of giving and receiving Luck Money shall be entirely voluntary, transparent and should be disclosed to all appropriate parties by the recipient. A vendor has no obligation whatsoever to pay Luck Money and the non-payment of such should not prejudice any further business activity.
7. If an Agent receives an offer to purchase a horse he must relay that offer in its entirety to his Principal and respond in accordance with the Principal’s instructions.
8. A vendor must not offer any secret payment or secret profit to any person whom he believes to be an Agent acting for a prospective purchaser.
9. Any dispute arising out of an alleged breach of the Code of Practice should be reported by a complainant to one of the following trade bodies or to the appropriate Sale Company in the first instance:
Federation of Bloodstock Agents: Geoffrey Howson (01451 860428)
National Trainers Federation: Rupert Arnold (01488 71719)
Racehorse Owners Association: 020 7152 0200
Thoroughbred Breeders Association: Claire Sheppard (01638 661321)
Doncaster Bloodstock Sales: Henry Beeby (01450 372222)
Tattersalls: Martin Mitchell (01638 665931)
A complainant shall provide written evidence of the alleged breach of the Code to the relevant trade body or the Sale Company in support of the allegation. The Sale Company or the trade body will conduct its own investigation and may seek to mediate, or may advise the complainant of their right to pursue the complaint through the courts.
The commencement of a mediation will not prevent the parties commencing court proceedings.
Disciplinary Proceedings under the Rules of Racing
10. If the British Horseracing Authority is satisfied there has been a breach of this Code of Practice, it is likely to consider this to be contrary to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing, and the persons involved, whether bound by the Rules of Racing, or not, may be banned from British racecourses and other licensed premises and will also not be permitted to conduct business with licensed individuals.
This Code of Practice has been drawn up and published by the following organisations:
The British Horseracing Authority
Doncaster Bloodstock Sales Ltd
Federation of Bloodstock Agents
National Trainers Federation
Racehorse Owners Association
Thoroughbred Breeders Association