Luca Cumani to succeed Rupert Arnold as Horsemen Member Nominated Director on the BHA Board

01 Oct 2019 BHA Features Financial/Political

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed the appointment of Luca Cumani, who retired following a hugely distinguished 43-year training career in 2018, as a Member Nominated Director of its Board for a 3-year term.

Cumani, who has tasted success at the top level of Flat racing the world over, was nominated by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) and Licensed Personnel, comprised of the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), National Trainers Federation (NTF) and National Association of Racing Staff (NAORS). His appointment is with immediate effect and he replaces NTF Chief Executive Rupert Arnold, who has stepped down after having served on the Board since the beginning of 2015.

BHA Chair Annamarie Phelps said:

“I am very much looking forward to welcoming Luca to the BHA Board. His legendary status as a successful trainer and the experiences that has brought him will be a huge asset to the organisation. As well as bringing a global perspective of the industry to the table, he has also worked with individuals at many levels and across many aspects of the sport: invaluable insights for the BHA as we continue to work more collaboratively with the different parts of the racing industry.

“I would also like to thank Rupert Arnold, who has been a key sounding board and counsel for matters affecting horsemen and the wider sport since 2015. Rupert has been a valuable member of the board and we will miss his astute observations, advice and considered judgement.”

Luca Cumani said:

“I am very flattered and excited to have been asked to join  the BHA Board as a Member Nominated Director.  I am very much looking forward to working with Annamarie and all the Board members on the many and varied challenges that our great industry is and will be facing. I will endeavour to put my 40 plus years of practical experience gained both in the UK and on many racing jurisdictions around the world to good use.  Rupert has done a great job over the past four years and I am sure he will continue to be an invaluable source of advice and support to me.”


Luca Cumani retired in December 2018 as one of British Racing’s leading trainers, having enjoyed global success for over 40 years. Born and raised in Italy, Luca came to England in the 1970’s as assistant trainer to Henry Cecil before purchasing the historic Bedford House Stables where he continued to train from until his retirement.

Luca has successfully nurtured the careers of many great racehorses, winning numerous Group and Classic races both at home and abroad, including The Derby with Kahyasi in 1988 and High Rise, ten years later.  He won the 1984 St Leger with Commanche Run.  Falbrav won five Group Ones before being narrowly defeated in the Breeders Cup Turf.  Luca also won the 1998 Oaks d’Italia with Zomaradah, the dam of Dubawi.   Barathea won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the 1994 Breeders Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.   He also trained Tolomeo who was the first European winner of the Arlington Million in 1983.

Since retiring from training, Luca and his wife Sara have focussed on their breeding operation at Fittocks Stud.

Notes to editors:

1. The announcement regarding changes to the structure of the BHA Board from February 2019 can be viewed here.

2. The BHA board’s full membership can be viewed here.

3. Picture of Luca Cumani: