The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced that US racing industry professional Cathy O’Meara has been appointed to the new role of Head of Raceday Officials.
Cathy joins from the US Jockey Club where she holds the role of Manager – Industry Initiatives and is responsible for managing numerous initiatives such as the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit and Thoroughbred Safety Committee. She also represents the US Jockey Club on the IFHA International Harmonisation of Racing Rules Committee and sits on various other US bodies relating to integrity, racing surfaces and medication and testing. Cathy also has hands-on officiating experience and is an accredited Steward for the National Steeplechase Association based in Fair Hill, Maryland.
At the same time, Cathy is also Manager of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP), for which she oversees its day-to-day operations and facilitates the delivery of education and accreditation of stewards and other racing officials across the US and Canada.
Cathy holds a Master of Business Administration from Sullivan University along with an Animal Science bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech University. Prior to her role with the US Jockey Club, which she joined in 2006, and ROAP which she joined in 2010, O’Meara has been a thoroughbred trainer, exercise rider and farm/office manager in Lexington. She also enjoyed a period working at Kildangan Stud in County Kildare, Ireland.
Cathy will join the BHA on a date to be finalised, but within the next two months.
The Head of Raceday Officials role is a newly created position which will have management responsibility of the BHA’s team of raceday officials, with a key focus on improving and controlling policy and operating procedures. Further, the role will focus on the development and delivery of competency-based training for all racing officials in Britain. It is a role that will involve significant cross-industry collaboration, both domestically and internationally.
Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said:
“The ability to attract individuals of Cathy’s calibre clearly shows the immense prestige of working in British racing. She brings significant experience to the role and is an extremely versatile and well-regarded operator. Having worked closely with horses throughout her life, including as a trainer, Cathy brings a great balance of experience to this role.
“This experience should stand her in good stead for the role, which will include significant collaboration with the sport’s stakeholders and participants in order to help further develop our raceday officiating standards and procedures.”
Jim Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The US Jockey Club, said:
“Cathy has been a valuable member of The Jockey Club team for more than a decade. The British Horseracing Authority selected a very capable professional in Cathy as its Head of Raceday Officials. All of us at The Jockey Club wish Cathy the best of luck in her new career.”