Racehorse Relief Fund launched supporting ‘at risk’ horses and preventing equine abandonment

14 Oct 2020 BHA Features Welfare

Issued on behalf of the Racehorse Owners Association

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) are today launching The Racehorse Relief Fund (RRF), a fund of last resort to support the needs of racehorses whose owners are suffering financial hardship as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

Opening for applications today, the fund is part of the package of measures agreed and announced in April by the leadership of racecourses, horsemen and BHA and will initially be funded by the Racing Foundation.

A survey undertaken by the ROA and NTF in April 2020 indicated that, from the 30% of trainers that responded, there were already 77 owners unable to pay training fees and over 1,500 horses possibly at risk of being abandoned. While this situation has yet to materialise so dramatically, the fund has been put in place to help protect those horses that may become abandoned so ensuring the impacts are minimised and horses’ welfare effectively protected.

The RRF will help mitigate potential welfare and financial effects of COVID-19 on racing, supporting horses, trainers and owners. Maintaining horse welfare and assisting businesses financial stability, the RRF will also provide valuable breathing space to trainers and horses to fully assess the right path for a horse, whether in racing or beyond. The fund gives horses significant protection and ensures the industry’s high welfare expectations continue to be met.

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA, said:

“This is about protecting horses and livelihoods. As the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis continue to crystallise it is clear that some owners will be financially affected and no longer able to sustain training fees. As a last resort, we hope that this fund will help horses, trainers and owners find a solution that meets the high standards of welfare we expect and provides some financial stability to training yards.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, said:

“The Racing Foundation is proud to be supporting the RRF as the industry looks to minimise the hardship created by COVID-19 on its participants both human and equine. Equine abandonment is a concern for the sport during this period given the massive financial impact of COVID-19. The fund will provide a vital safety net to protect horses and prevent welfare issues occurring.”


The RRF will provide a financial lifeline, allowing horses to remain on licensed yards and for yards to cover daily out of training costs for a period of up to 3 months while the most appropriate future for the horse can be determined. The fund has an initial funding term of three months.


As a last resort fund, ensuring that those in need access support is a matter of priority for Racing. The fund will have strict eligibility criteria to identify that all other options have been explored and the horse is definitely no longer affordable. Owners applying must do so in respect of all their horses, where multiple ownership interests are involved. An Independent Panel will advise on applications to the fund, future options for the horse and have a right of refusal.

How to Apply
An application can be made by either the owner or trainer online at www.rrfund.co.uk. All applications should be supported by training and veterinary records. Full details, eligibility criteria and terms & conditions of the fund can be found in the Fund Details and FAQs sections on the website.

Notes to Editors:

1. About the ROA
The ROA promotes, protects and sustains racehorse ownership and racing in Great Britain. Founded in 1945, it now has a membership of over 7,900 racehorse owners, representing their and other owners’ interests throughout the year on the racecourse, in the yards, and in the boardrooms across the country.

As a shareholder in the British Horseracing Authority, the UK industry regulator, and a board member on administrative boards, the ROA plays a central role in British racing’s administration, politics and finance.

To find out more about the benefits of the ROA and its role in British racing visit www.roa.co.uk.

Twitter: @RacehorseOwners
Facebook: RacehorseOwnersUK

2. About the Racing Foundation
The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 by its founding members, comprising the British Horseracing Authority, The Horsemen’s Group and the Racecourse Association.

It was set up with an endowment from the net proceeds of the UK government’s sale of the Tote with  the principle aim of supporting charitable purposes associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry. It does this by investing funds to generate investment income and using the income to make grants to appropriate organisations.

To find out more about the role of the Racing Foundation visit www.racingfoundation.co.uk.

Twitter: @Racinggrants