Racing Forward August 2018 | BHA Stakeholder Bulletin
KEEPING RACING FAIR AND CLEAN
Stewarding Review Update
As many of you will know, the BHA Board has considered a range of options following the recent stewarding review and has made a decision about the future stewarding model.
We need to work through the various potential implications, including any that may affect existing roles and responsibilities, before we can announce further details. We can confirm, however, that the chosen stewarding model will include a new role for honorary stewards. Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, has written to all stewards and stakeholder groups, explaining that we will be in a position to provide full details and the proposed implementation plan by the end of August.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan Launched
The plan aims to improve representation across all aspects of the sport with ambitions including the promotion of racing in minority communities, opportunities and facilities for female jockeys and launching an industry diversity event in 2019.
The BHA are also now looking for a Head of Diversity and Inclusion, a new role that will provide the leadership needed to drive through this Action Plan.
COMPETITIVE AND COMPELLING RACING
2019 Fixture List Published
Next year’s fixture list has been published with a slight increase of three fixtures (1,511 overall) from 2018. It seeks to strike a balance between supporting racing’s workforce whilst being alive to the needs of digital and retail betting sectors.
A number of new initiatives, including breaks for Flat participants in March and November and all floodlit fixtures between January to mid-April and September to December having a final race time of no later than 8:30pm, have been designed to help jockeys and racing staff.
Additionally, to benefit both retail and digital betting operators, measures have been agreed to schedule floodlit cards to try and provide a more continuous and consistent betting product throughout the course of afternoon and evening racing.
Racing Authority Agreed
The tripartite bodies of the British Horseracing Authority, Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association have agreed the structure of the new body that will replace the Levy Board.
The Racing Authority, chaired by Sir Hugh Robertson, is set to assume responsibility for distribution of the Horserace Betting Levy from April 2019.
Racing Staff Week
Racing celebrated Racing Staff Week by ‘giving back’ to racing staff. There were fifteen golden tickets up for grabs, hidden at racecourses and training centres up and down the country, and each golden ticket was exchangeable for a £100 voucher from a choice of high street retailers. Although they have been found, three are still yet to be exchanged!
As visible on social media, the week was a great success. Whether the participants were the winners or those industry personnel from Racing Welfare or the BHA who hid the tickets, it was an enjoyable week for all involved.
COMPETITIVE AND COMPELLING RACING
Optional Claiming Handicaps
Two races have now taken place in the 10 race trial of Optional Claiming Handicaps. These new races which were announced in June form part of a cross-industry commitment to diversify the race programme and create more options for trainers to campaign horses in races which are not solely based on their handicap rating.
In addition, Optional Claiming Handicaps are designed to help stimulate trade in a group of higher rated horses that are less likely to attract interest from abroad and lack the stamina to appeal to the jumping market. The 10-race trial, full details of which can be viewed here, is pitched at horses rated in the 80s and 90s. These events will be staged over distances from 6f to 1m and each carry a total prize fund of £30,000, with the next race taking place over 6f at Chelmsford on 11 August.
Brexit Steering Group Update
The Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group has been working to address the implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on people and thoroughbred movement beyond 29 March 2019 for our industry.
This has involved a series of working groups, co-operation with our fellow European thoroughbred jurisdictions, and engagement with UK Government Ministers and Officials at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Good progress has been made to date. Assurances have been received from the UK Government that they “expect” the Tripartite Agreement for thoroughbred movement to continue during any transition deal agreed with the EU to the end of 2020. While we have supported a proposal from our French and Irish colleagues regarding a High Health Horse category in EU Legislation that we hope will enable continued thoroughbred movement with non-EU countries including the UK beyond 2020.
We also have made significant representations to the Migration Advisory Committee work on the UK’s future immigration system to highlight the importance for British thoroughbred racing and breeding to have access to the best international talent as part of our future workforce, while continuing to enhance domestic staff recruitment and retention.
Meanwhile, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has – following evidence provided by British racing – written to Tracey Crouch MP (Minister for Sport and Civil Society) to ask if “the Government considered the effect of ending free movement on sports such as horseracing?”
However, the wider negotiations between the UK and EU are now at an extremely sensitive stage, with both the UK Government and European Commission issuing statements in the last fortnight that they are stepping up contingency planning for a ‘No Deal’ scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement.
In light of these developments, the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group will be considering the implications of a ‘No Deal’ scenario at its next meeting in September, as it is only right that the industry is prepared for all outcomes from the current negotiations. These discussions will reflect work that is underway at Defra, with Dr Thérèse Coffey (Minister for the Environment) stating this week that the Government are “putting in place contingency arrangements in the event of a no-deal outcome” for equine movement.
The Steering Group will keep stakeholders within the industry appraised of our preparations for this scenario and will issue updates as and when appropriate on what steps employers and employees within the British thoroughbred racing and breeding industries can take, or additional measures or procedures which may need put in place.
Brexit in House of Lords
The BHA and TBA provided evidence to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee inquiry on ‘Brexit: Movement of people in the fields of sport and culture’ concerning the free movement of industry personnel beyond the UK’s withdrawal.
The Committee has, in conclusion to its inquiry, written to Tracey Crouch MP (Minister for Sport) and asked as part of its letter: “Has the Government considered the effect of ending free movement on sports such as horseracing?”