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Europe

ISSUE 58 – JULY 2017 – SEPTEMBER 2017 £6.95 www.trainermagazine.com

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZ AZINE FOR THE TRAI AZI AINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE THOROUGHBRED

Christophe

Ferland A man with a plan

GENERATION X The new jockeys on the block

SHOCK ABSORPTION

Can shoeing improve impact injuries

NUTRITION

Does a young horse’s diet determine longevity on the racecourse


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| OPINION |

GI LE S AN DE RS ON PUBLISHER’S OPINION

racehorse trainer is by nature a resilient person. Keeping horses fit and healthy is not just part of the daily routine, it is a job in itself, as well as the means to the ultimate goal: getting horses to the racecourse. Once a trainer has put in the hard work and successfully got a runner to the races, the betting public play their part by making bets, and a percentage of that betting money finds its way to governments through tax revenue. It could be said that a new strain of resilience has been growing in trainers over the last few years. Firstly, their costs have been going up at a greater rate than their income from training fees. Then, in many instances, prize money has decreased in real terms – but the income from betting revenue has been on the increase, and with a knock-on effect of an increase in tax revenue, what has the trainer had to show for this? At the same time, many trainers have found themselves subject to eye-opening increases in the rateable value of their stables. The extra tax income they’ve paid finds its way back to both local and national governments. Whilst I understand the need to reassess properties for their rateable values, I do find it quite bizarre that trainers who are in effect providing the means to an end for betting tax revenue are being asked to stump up extra cash for the privilege of housing the horses to populate the racecourses and earn government tax income! The media commentary on the rateable debate was at its height earlier this spring and led me to think that it was about time that we reach out to trainers across Europe and conduct a survey on the true costs they face in running their businesses. The rate increases for some will be the difference between profit and loss. I am sure that when we publish the results of our survey later this year some startling differences in trends and costs across Europe will be very apparent. For this survey to be a success and provide the industry with true figures on the state of the business of training racehorses across Europe, we need your input. I urge all trainers to take the survey. To have your say, please go online and complete the survey, or call us and we’ll ask you the questions over the phone. Wherever your racing takes place this summer – good luck!

A

TRAINERS’ DAILY RATES 2017 SURVEY Complete the survey online – trainermagazine.com/survey Or call us +44 (0)1380 816777 (UK / EU) or 041 971 2000 (IRE)

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ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| CONTENTS |

48

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20 32 ISS S UE

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CONTENTS 48 The Saviour of Greek Racing

F E AT U R E S

After some lean years, the fortunes of Greek racing are on the rise, thanks to the guidance of Fin Powrie, by Chris Dixon.

10 A Man with a plan

Christophe Ferland may be based in the provinces, but his horses have brought him big city success, by Sophie Pertus.

56 Does nutrition factor in injury,

20 Generation X

Dr Catherine Dunnett on how a balanced diet can work in conjunction with a training programme for the benefit of the racehorse.

A facet of the sport that has turned out some top riders, pony racing is gaining popularity in Britain as it declines in Ireland, as Chris Cook writes.

26 Shock Absorption study

Amy Barstow explains how sole-packing and other diagnostic techniques may prevent lameness, onset by hoof-surface concussion.

32 The True cost of training

Lissa Oliver discovers what it really costs trainers to run their stables.

40

The Importance of identifying lower and upper limb lameness Leah McGlinchey looks at research on lameness as it relates to identifying major problems before they occur.

@ train e r_ mag

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repair, and recovery?

62 Merial Raceday

Louise Jones of Connolly’s Red Mills reports from the Merial Veterinary CPD and Raceday at York.

68 Staff focus

There’s nothing better than getting people interested in and learning about careers in racing from a young age, by Lissa Oliver.

REGULARS 04 Contributors 06 ETF Members 08 TRM Trainer of the Quarter

86 Product Focus

74 Welfare at the top of the agenda Paull Khan reports on the Pan-American Conference held in Washington, DC in May and other EMHF news.

80 Developing the young foot

Stacey Oke, DVM, looks at the nuances of getting a young racehorse’s foot ready for the rigors of training and racing.

/ t rai ner magaz i n e

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Visit trainermagazine.com to download the digital edition of this issue.


britishchampionsday.com

ONEY

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QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY BRITAIN’S RICHEST RACEDAY

The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, Group 2 (NO PENALTIES) 3-y-o and up, 2 miles (3200 metres), round course

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO), Group 1 3-y-o and up, 1 mile (1600 metres), straight course Prize Money £1,100,000

Prize Money £400,000 The QIPCO Champion Stakes, Group 1 3-y-o and up, The QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes, Group 1

1 mile 2 furlongs (2000 meters), inner flat round course

3-y-o and up, 6 furlongs (1200 metres), straight course

Prize Money £1,300,000

Prize Money £600,000 The QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, Group 1 3-y-o and up, 1 mile 4 furlongs (2400 metres), round course Prize Money £600,000

ENTRIES CLOSE 8 AUGUST

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Editorial Director/Publisher Giles Anderson Editor Frances J. Karon Designer ATG Media Editorial/Photo Management Suzy Stephens Advert Production Shae Hardy Circulation/Website Anna Alcock Advertising Sales Giles Anderson, Oscar Yeadon Photo Credits: Agencja Fotograficzna Caro, Alamy Stock Photos, Arco Images GmbH, E S Photography, HRI, Amie Karlsson, Max Krupka, Anne-Armelle Langlois, Caroline Norris, 2017 Pan-American Conference, Fin Powrie, Racing to School, Shutterstock, Stefan Olsson/Svensk Galopp, Take the Reins.

Cover Photograph Anne-Armelle Langlois Trainer magazine is published by Anderson & Co Publishing Ltd. This magazine is distributed for free to all EFT members. Editorial views expressed are not necessarily those of the ETF. Additional copies can be purchased for ÂŁ6.95 (ex P&P). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any format without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Printed in the European Union For all editorial and adevrtising queries please contact: Anderson & Co. Publishing Tel: +44 (0) 1380 816777 Fax: +44 (0) 1380 816778 email: info@trainermagazine.com www.trainermagazine.com Issue 58

ISSN 17580293

Sophie Pertus is a French journalist and translator with a lifelong interest in all horse-related fields. After 15 years in Chantilly and a strong involvement in racing, now lives in Normandy. Chris Cook has written about horse racing for The Guardian for 12 years, having been in love with the sport since the age of seven, when he stumbled across it on ITV one Saturday afternoon. He has twice won the John Oaksey Trophy for Racing Reporter of the Year. Amy Barstow graduated from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in 2013 before undertaking an equine internship at The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. In 2015, she returned to the RVC to study for a PhD in the Structure and Motion Lab group. During her PhD, Amy has undertaken a number of studies investigating the foot-surface impact in horses, which have been funded by the RVC Mellon Trust, the HBLB and the British Horse Society. Having grown up in Epsom, Surrey surrounded by horseracing, she is keen that her research supports the health and performance of racehorses.

an equine resident at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in the US, a 3-year course to specialise in equine surgery. Chris Dixon is a horseracing form analyst, gambler and TV pundit, regularly seen on the leading racing channel Racing UK. Chris also manages two small racing partnerships and has enjoyed over 20 winners as a part owner since 2013. Dr Catherine Dunnett BSc, PhD, R. Nutr. is an independent nutritionist registered with the British Nutrition Society. She has a background in equine research, in the field of nutrition and exercise physiology, with many years spent at The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. Prior to setting up her own consultancy business, she worked in the equine feed industry on product development and technical marketing.

Lissa Oliver lives in Co. Kildare, Ireland and is a regular contributor to The Irish Field and the Australian magazine, Racetrack. Lissa is also the author of several collections of short stories and two novels.

Louise Jones has worked as an equine nutritionist for over 15 years after qualifying in 1999 with a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science. Having completed her Masters, Louise worked for Dodson & Horrell for over a decade and is now one of only a handful of registered equine nutritionists in the UK, working for Connolly’s Red Mills. Louise has an extensive understanding of stud, clinical and performance horse nutrition, and has worked with trainers and breeders in the UK, Continental Europe and the Middle East.

Leah McGlinchey graduated with an Honors Bachelors Degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2011 from UCD, Dublin. She then did a surgical internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, KY. in 2012, before working as an Associate Veterinarian at Yorkshire Equine Practice and completed a second equine internship at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, China in 2013. Leah is currently in her final year as

Dr Paull Khan PhD, is an international horseracing consultant. He is Secretary-General of the European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation and Technical Advisor for Europe to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. His other clients include the British Horseracing Board. Previously, Dr. Khan held many senior roles at Weatherbys, including Banking Director and Racing Director.

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@TRAINER_MAG

/TRAINERMAGAZINE

/TRAINERMAGAZINE


Where t Where the he best best in in the the W World orld m meet eet 9 september leopardstoWn - 10 september the curraGh

10 Group races FeaturinG

5 Group 1 races The QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes The Comer Group International Irish St Leger The Coolmore Matron Stakes The Moyglare Stud Stakes The Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes

€4.6 million prize-money including four €150,000 EBF Handicaps Handicap Entries Close 23rd August 2017

Full programme details are available on www.irishchampionsweekend.ie

irishchampionsweekend

www.irishchampionsweekend.ie

#LICW17

@IrishChampsWknd


EUROPEAN TRAINERS’ FEDERATION AIMS and OBJECTIVES of the ETF:

a) To represent the interests of all member trainers’ associations in Europe. b) To liaise with political and administrative bodies on behalf of European trainers. c) To exchange information between members for the benefit of European trainers. d) To provide a network of contacts to assist each member to develop its policy and services to member trainers.

ETF REPRESENTATIVES Chairmanship: Guy Heymans (Belgium) Tel: +32 (0) 495 389 140 Email: heymans1@telenet.be

Vice Chairmanship:

Criquette Head-Maarek (France) Tel: +33 (0)3 44 57 25 39 Fax: +33 (0)3 44 57 58 85 Email: entraineurs.de.galop@wanadoo.fr

Vice Chairmanship:

Christian von der Recke (Germany) Tel: +49 (022 54) 84 53 14 Fax: +49 (022 54) 84 53 15 Email: recke@t-online.de

AUSTRIA

Mrs Živa Prunk Tel: +38640669918 Email: ziva.prunk@gmail.com

CZECH REPUBLIC

Roman Vitek Tel: +42 (0) 567 587 61 Fax: +42 (0) 567584 733 Email: dr.romanrvitek@gmail.com

GERMANY

Erika Mäder Tel: +49 (0) 2151 594911 Fax: +49 (0) 2151 590542 Email: trainer-und-jockeys@netcologne.de

HUNGARY

Treasureship:

Michael Grassick (Ireland) Tel: +353 (0) 45 522981 Mob: +353 (0) 87 2588770 Fax: +353 (0) 45 522982 Email: irishta@eircom.net

SLOVAKIA

Jaroslav Brecka Email: jaroslav.brecka@gmail.com

NETHERLANDS

Geert van Kempen Email: renstalvankempen@hetnet.nl

NORWAY

Annike Bye Hansen Email: annikebyehansen@hotmail.no

UNITED KINGDOM

Rupert Arnold Tel: +44 (0) 1488 71719 Fax: +44 (0) 1488 73005 Email: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

Livia Prem Email: livia.prem@hotmail.com

www.trainersfederation.eu

SPAIN

Mauricio Delcher Sanchez Tel: +34 (0) 666 53 51 52 Email: mdelcher@hotmail.com

SWEDEN NORTH

Julian McLaren Tel: +46 (0) 709 234597 Email: jmclaren@hotmail.com

SWEDEN SOUTH Jessica och Padraig Long Email: jplong@live.se


Looking for Classic winners… BBAG graduate ISFAHAN wins the German Derby, Gr.1

KNIFE EDGE leads home a 1-2 for BBAG graduates in the Group 2 German 2.000 Guineas, with DEGAS a close second.

Premier Yearling Sales: Friday, 1st September 2017

October Mixed Sales Friday, 20th October and Saturday, 21st October 2017

www.bbag-sales.de


| EXCELLENCE IN EQUINE NUTRITION |

TRAINER OF THE QUARTER

MATTHIEU PA LU SSIE RE The TRM Trainer of the Quarter award has been won by Matthieu Palussiere. Matthieu and his team will receive a selection of products from the internationally-acclaimed range of TRM supplements, as well as a bottle of fine Irish whiskey. Anna Alcock atthieu Palussiere started his professional career in the military on the back of a baccalaureate at the agricultural college in Le Mans, before turning to racing where he worked under Christian Scandella for two years. In 1995, Palussiere uprooted to Ireland to work for Gilltown Stud finding his niche in their pre-training division. At

M

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Caroline Norris Gilltown, he met his future wife, Liz, they worked together with horses such as Daylami, Daliapour, Sinndar and Vereva. Matthieu and Liz then moved on to run Michael Halford’s second yard for two years before setting up on their own with a restricted licence in 2005 and his full licence in 2007. Their first winner, Deputy Consort came at Limerick in 2008 and

Tramp Stamp, was Palussiere’s first major National Hunt winner, with a Grade 3 victory at Down Royal. Other notable winners include Leah Claire, Hedges and Rebel Fitz sold to Ireland from France. Matthieu and Liz moved back to France in April 2013, and had their first runners at the end of April. Muharaaj led the way as their first winner at Chantilly on 7th May 2013, followed by a flurry of winners and several black-type horses. Matthieu bided his time for his next major win until 2014 in the Baden-Badener Zukunftsrennen (Group 3) with Citron Spirit. This was followed by a storming victory by Ross Castle in the Prix Texanita at MaisonsLaffitte on 13th May 2016. Little did he know of what 2017 would bring. For a trainer with a relatively small operation, a win in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot was inspiring to witness and a joy to watch - as highlighted by owner, Con Marnane (Bansha House Stables). Marnane bought the filly as a foal at Arqana, sending her to Julian Ince at Haras du Logis, until the June of her yearling year and then to Trickledown Stud to be prepped for Doncaster Yearling Sales 2016. The filly was led out unsold (with


| EXCELLENCE IN EQUINE NUTRITION |

I WOULD DEFINITELY SAY SHE IS RIGHT UP THERE WITH MY TOP 4 OR 5 FILLIES I’VE OWNED, THERE WERE 4 OR 5 ‘MILLIONAIRE’ HORSES IN THAT RACE AND SHE SHOWED THEM. a reserve of £14,000). She subsequently returned to Bansha House Stables where Marnane and his team did a fantastic job pre-training her with his breeze-up horses.

Different League arrived in France in April 2017 to Pelussiere’s operation at MaisonsLaffitte. She won her maiden at Lyon Parilly on 11th May 2017 and followed up in the Prix Du Puycharic at Angers on 23rd May, before creating history at Royal Ascot when becoming the first French-trained winner of the Group 3 Albany Stakes and a first Royal Ascot winner for trainer and jockey, 26-year-old jockey Antoine Hamelin. “I would definitely say she is right up there with my top 4 or 5 fillies I’ve owned,

there were 4 or 5 ‘millionaire’ horses in that race and she showed them. For so many people, this meant so much and everyone was emotional about this win. I would like to credit my incredible team behind us in Ireland who have been with us for a long time, and now in France - it is as much their win as ours”, reported Con Marnane. Pelussiere and Marnane believe that this filly will compete at the top level this summer, with a trip to Del Mar in November as the ultimate goal.

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PROFILE

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| CHRISTOPHE FERLAND |

Sophie Pertuus Anne-Armelle Langlois

A M AN WI T H A P L A N ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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PROFILE

W

hen Christophe Ferland is talking to you, you have his full attention. He might need to break off the interview for a few moments to deal with something at the yard or on the phone, or to look at a horse, but he will resume exactly where he stopped, without missing a beat. Is this ability to concentrate 100% on what he is doing one of the ingredients in the recipe for the success of French Flat racing’s rising star? With a jockey-turned-head-lad for a father, Ferland cannot remember the first time he saw a horse. “But I do remember going racing with my father, although he was no longer a jockey at the time, and loving it!” he says now. So, after a few years riding out in the morning for several renowned trainers including David Smaga and starting in a dozen races as a gentleman rider “without much success or passion, as I really lacked competitive spirit at the time,” he decided that training really captivated him. His mind was made up: he would be a trainer.

70%

OF HIS RUNNERS WIN OR ARE PLACED, WITH ONE WINNER FROM EVERY FIVE STARTS. 12

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| CHRISTOPHE FERLAND |

Ferland had a plan to make this happen, albeit a longterm one. He went to England and started working in Lambourn for trainers Charlie Mann and Peter Walwyn. These good credentials later enabled him to become Sir Mark Prescott’s pupil assistant in Newmarket. “Sir Mark taught me two invaluable things: to be rigorous and to observe horses. He had his method which he stuck to no matter what, and would observe his horses with the utmost attention to see how they fit in, how good or ready they were. Of course, as any trainer would, I developed my own way. However, these two rules gave me a strong basis.” After two years with Sir Mark, Ferland returned to Chantilly, where he spent nine years with Richard Gibson as an assistant trainer and travelling head lad, a position that took him all over the world. “With Richard, I learned boldness. Nothing would stop him. He was incredibly relaxed about trying new things. For instance, he would think nothing of going straight from a “B”-rated race to a Group race – and sometimes, it would work! To be honest, he surprised me more than once. Now, I make sure I take a leaf out of his book, too.” This combination of rigour and boldness is certainly another major ingredient, along with his ability to extract

the essence of his mentors’ teaching, of Christophe Ferland’s recipe. Fast forward a few years, to the end of 2007, when Ferland was around the age of 30 and decided it was time to start his own business. Although he loves Chantilly, where he had gained most of his experience, he felt that there are too many big fish in this pond. The south west of France appealed to him, for its mild climate that enables horses to be ready much earlier in the season and its many good quality racecourses with a rich program. Pau? In the shade of the great Jean-Claude Rouget? No. Mont-deMarsan? Not his thing. It was to be La Teste de Buch, near the renowned sea resort Arcachon. “It has the mild climate I was looking for, is a pleasant place to live in and, most of all, I felt the training centre had a growth potential,” he says. And grow they did, together. Today, with some 110 horses in training, Ferland is in charge of about a quarter of the 450 horses trained in La Teste. He is one definitely of the big fish. Dream statistics – nearly 70% of his runners win or are placed, with one winner from every five starts – secure him a spot in the top 10 of French Flat trainers. Five or six years ago, he built his own yard near the training centre for a total capacity of 120 horses. All within barely 10 years. At such a pace, there was a risk of being overtaken by events. ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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PROFILE

“YOU HAVE TO BE VERY WELL ORGANISED AND ASSISTED. I’D BE A NOBODY WITHOUT MY TEAM.

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“Up to 50 horses, a yard remains a family structure with some 10-12 employees. After that, you have to be very well organised and assisted. I’d be a nobody without my team,” he says. Ferland’s staff now number around 40, including 25 people riding out every day. They are supervised by the trainer’s assistant, former jockey Goulven Toupel, who has taken over riding the pony to the gallops every morning. “You need one person to watch the horses day after day; he knows them inside out and I can rely on him. We aim to do what’s best for them: regular training and a routine ensure they are well, both physically and mentally.” Travelling is another key aspect, particularly when you are based so far from Paris (see box). “Long trips are something you really need to take into account when working a horse’s program out. I was extremely lucky to benefit from the wealth of experience and advice of leading trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, who has been studying the subject for over 20 years. The logistics are now in the very capable hands of ex-trainer Thierry Foulon and his son Clément. I don’t always go to the races nowadays as I used to in the beginning. Therefore, I can be on the gallops in the morning and take care of the actual training of the horses – and watch the races from my office on Equidia.” Last but not least, Christophe’s wife Aude, daughter of former trainer Bertrand de Watrigant, deals with the administration side of running the yard. “I don’t know what I’d do without her. This is a vital part of the business, obviously. Knowing that I can trust her 200% with it frees my mind and enables me to concentrate on the horses and owners.” The Ferlands have two sons, ages


DATE

RACE NAME

DISTANCE

CONDITIONS

PRIZEMONEY (AUD$)

Sat 14 Oct

G2 Schillaci Stakes

5.5f / 1100m

WFA

$401,000

Sat 14 Oct

G2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes

12f / 2400m

Q Handicap

$401,000

Sat 14 Oct

G1 Toorak Handicap

8f / 1600m

Handicap

$502,750

Sat 14 Oct

G1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes

10f / 2000m

WFA

$1,000,000

Sat 21 Oct

G2 Caulfield Sprint

5f / 1000m

Handicap

$201,000

Sat 21 Oct

G1 BMW Caulfield Cup

12f / 2400m

Handicap

$3,150,000

Wed 25 Oct

G3 Geelong Cup

12f / 2400m

Handicap

$315,000

Fri 27 Oct

G1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes

6f / 1200m

WFA

$1,015,000

Sat 28 Oct

G2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup

12.5f / 2500m

SW+P

$310,000

Sat 28 Oct

G1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate

10f / 2040m

WFA

$3,050,000

Sat 28 Oct

G2 Schweppes Crystal Mile

8f / 1600m

WFA

$203,000

Wed 1 Nov

G3 Bendigo Cup

12f / 2400m

Handicap

$303,500

Sat 4 Nov

G3 Lexus Stakes

12.5f / 2500m

Q Handicap

$301,500

Sat 4 Nov

G1 Cantala Stakes

8f / 1600m

Q Handicap

$1,002,500

Sat 4 Nov

G2 tab.com.au Stakes

6f / 1200m

Handicap

$302,000

Tue 7 Nov

G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup

16f / 3200m

Handicap

$6,220,000

Sat 11 Nov

G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes

13f / 2600m

Q Handicap

$301,500

Sat 11 Nov

G1 Emirates Stakes

10f / 2000m

WFA

$2,005,000

Sat 11 Nov

G1 Darley Classic*

6f / 1200m

WFA

$1,002,500

Sat 18 Nov

Listed Ladbrokes Sandown Cup

16f / 3200m

Handicap

$150,000

Sat 18 Nov

G2 Zipping Classic

12f / 2400m

WFA

$301,000

*Leg of Global Sprint Challenge Visit springracingcarnival.com.au/international for closing dates. For further information contact Racing Victoria Leigh Jordon E: Leigh@jordoninternational.com M: +61 (0) 411 646 187 springracingcarnival.com.au/international


PROFILE

“PARIS” VS “PROVINCES”

For decades, in a situation particular to French racing, there was a strong division between “Paris” – the training centres of Chantilly and Maisons-Laffitte; Chantilly, Deauville, Evry*, Longchamp, Maisons-Laffitte, Saint-Cloud (Flat), Auteuil, and Enghien (NH) racecourses – and the rest of France, “les provinces” – the provinces. Classic horses were all trained in “Paris” by leading trainers who would only venture to the provinces at the end of the season to run in the Grand Prix in Marseille or Bordeaux. Sometimes, the likes of Guy Henrot or Henri-Alex Pantall would dare to go and confront the Paris teams on their home turf, but that was the exception more than the rule. At least, it was until Jean-Claude Rouget, who had been the leading “provincial” trainers for years, took Paris by storm some 20 years ago. Since then, and despite a certain animosity from his Paris colleagues, he has firmly settled in the top three on the trainers’ table, finishing season 2016 as number one. He trains his 250 horses in Pau, in the southwest of France, and says, “I once was told by very well-meaning people that one could not train a Group 1 horse in Pau. I proved otherwise, and showed owners that it was, in fact, possible.” Now that Rouget has paved the way, many young trainers such as Christophe Ferland follow in his footsteps, choosing a better quality of life for themselves and their horses. The younger generation of trainers have known only the current situation and don’t maintain this rivalry. Therefore, as road networks and means of transport as well as racing programmes improve (leading province trainers being very influential in the latter), the gap between Paris and “les provinces” may soon be a thing of the past. *NO LONGER IN USE

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| CHRISTOPHE FERLAND |

six and three; the older of the boys is already showing a strong interest in horses. Horses, of course, are at the centre of the system. Everything is done to keep them fit and happy. Ever since the beginning, he had young horses in his string. “The only way for a trainer to prove his worth is to start with two-year-olds, according to Jean-Claude Rouget. Of course, this requires a few connections.” Connections that have to be established – and maintained. “One of my secretaries is in charge of communication with the owners. She will send them monthly reports, pictures... As for me, I make a point of always being available. They know they can reach me anytime by phone or e-mail.” In this respect as well, Rouget is a role model for Ferland, who says, “He has the most special relationship with his owners. They are all more like friends. This is something I strive for.” Rouget has indeed played an important part in Ferland’s career, even though Ferland did not come up under him. He was one of the first to trust him as a trainer, sending him some of his own horses to train. “I did not know him at all,” recalls Rouget, France’s leading trainer and recent winner of Prix du Jockey Club. “However, having received the help of my father (trainer Claude Rouget) and some of his owners when I set up my own yard, I felt it was my duty to, in turn, help younger trainers. Christophe was one of the first I tried this with, and it soon transpired he had ‘the gift.’ He is a born winner. I first sent him a filly that was really no superstar and he managed to fine tune her to bring the very best out of her. Then I sent him another horse, and so on.” After four or five years, the younger trainer having grown his own wings, the partnership came to a natural end –

but not before they had shared a very emotional moment, winning the very first Prix Claude Rouget (not a blacktype race) at Angers in 2010 with Pim Pam, a few months after Jean-Claude Rouget’s father died – a race they also won the following year with Air Shot. “This is a memory I will always treasure,” says Ferland. “Mrs Rouget was giving out the prizes... It was extremely moving.” It is moments like that Christophe Ferland is after – human adventures. What is his fondest memory so far, apart from the obvious first Group wins with Dabirsim? “Winning the Prix du Calvados (a Group 3 race for two-year-old fillies) with Cavale Dorée, who was the first yearling I bought independently. A group of friends soon joined me owning her, which has made the success we had with her an even stronger experience,” he says. The filly went on to finish third in the 2016 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Ferland continues, “Winning a Listed race for British owner Mr Brian Yeardley, who had come all the way

HE IS A BORN WINNER. I FIRST SENT HIM A FILLY THAT WAS REALLY NO SUPERSTAR AND HE MANAGED TO FINE TUNE HER TO BRING THE VERY BEST OUT OF HER.

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PROFILE

to Marseille, or other good races for bloodstock agent Mr. Frédéric Sauque and his daughter Olivia, my best friend, was also amazing.” One feels he could go on and on and that there is a story behind nearly each horse, each success, and each owner, from the friends with a share to the early supporters like Zafonic S.L. to the most historically classic colours, such as those of Wertheimer et Frère, owner-breeder of Indonesienne, winner of the 2013 Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac for Ferland. And it was thanks to Ferland’s first Group winner, Simon Springer’s Dabirsim – winner of three Pattern races, including two Group 1s, the Prix Morny and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère in 2011 – that the introduction was made. “Training for such a prestigious owner as the Wertheimer family is a great honour. Our relationship is one of mutual trust. We met at the prize giving after Dabirsim beat (Wertheimer homebred) Sofast in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère! They send me really good, well-bred horses. It is also fascinating to not only have to win races, but to enhance families and lines as well.”

YOU HAVE TO KEEP SEARCHING - WHY SOMETHING WENT WRONG AND HOW TO CORRECT IT, WHAT COULD STILL BE IMPROVED EVEN WHEN THINGS GO WELL... NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED.

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The hands-on experience of the direct link between racing and breeding is fairly new to him as a trainer. “It makes me feel awfully old, but for the first time this year, thanks to owner-breeder Mr Adolph Schneider, I started training offspring of mares I trained a few years ago. It is actually very interesting and does give a few keys regarding distance or ground aptitude... as long as you avoid being prejudiced.” Keeping an open mind, being dynamic and reactive, grabbing any opportunity, and finding ways to face adversity are certainly more key ingredients of his recipe. “You have to keep searching – why something went wrong and how to correct it, what could still be improved even when things go well... Never take anything for granted.” In addition to French highweighted two-year-old colt Dabirsim, Indonesienne, and Cavale Dorée, other Pattern winners to emerge from the Ferland yard are Heshem, Gloomy Sunday, and Spoil the Fun. Last year, the trainer saddled his first Listed winner over hurdles, Isabe. One thing is for sure: the competitive spirit Christophe Ferland was lacking as a rider has grown tenfold now that he is training “his own” horses. All the same, his longterm plan has come to fruition.


| RACING |

GE NE RA TIO N The thrills of racing are not reserved for only horses and fully-grown riders, but for ponies and their young jockeys as well. Pony racing is a great way to gain experience, all the while e having gre eat fun. Chriis Cook

Stefan Olsson / Svensk Galopp

Young jockeys get to race up the famous Cheltenham hill

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| GENERATION X |

I

t’s been a great spring for Irish horseracing, the record 19 wins at the Cheltenham Festival having been followed within a matter of weeks by Aidan O’Brien’s double in the Newmarket Guineas. But, believe it or not, there is a branch of the sport in which Britain is in the ascendancy while Ireland seems in dangerous decline, and this is pony racing, an unheralded but vital part of racing’s grassroots and an excellent source of hard-working, talented riders. Listening to people talk about the storied history of pony racing in Ireland, one would imagine it would be secure forever. “Practically every top jockey in the country has gone through pony racing at one stage or another,” I was told by Denis Egan, The Turf Club’s chief executive. But neither The Turf Club nor any other authority has responsibility for nurturing the health of pony racing, which is falling on hard times with a consequent loss of fixtures and equine talent. Meantime, the sport, having long been popular in other European countries, is finally taking hold in Britain, where it was all but unknown 15 years ago. “I can’t speak highly enough about it and the people who organise it,” says Paul Nicholls, the 10-times champion jumps trainer, who regrets that no such introduction to jockeyship was available when he was a lad. His daughter, Megan, and his nephew, Harry Derham, are among a swelling list of British jockeys who cut their teeth in pony racing. Others include Sam Twiston-Davies, Sean Bowen, Lizzie Kelly, Tom Marquand, and Hollie Doyle. The Pony Racing Authority (PRA) reckons that more than 100 of its graduates now hold a jockey’s licence of some kind. That’s a powerful statement of worth from an organisation that was set up just a decade ago. Until 2004, Britain bumbled along without pony racing, but the need for it was recognised that year by a review of jump racing chaired by Edward Gillespie, then manager of Cheltenham racecourse. “There was a realisation that in Britain there was a heavy reliance on a seemingly neverending supply of jockeys from Ireland,” Gillespie recalls. “The feeling was that the time had come to do something about it ourselves, to take that into our own hands.” Setting up some pony racing was hardly original thinking, Gillespie readily acknowledges. “It was based on what was happening elsewhere, especially in Ireland, where we found some young jockeys had had 150 winners in pony racing. You’d say: ‘150!’ and they’d reply, ‘Yes, I had 800 rides.’ And it was big in France as well, and the Scandinavian countries.” Frequent advice was sought from Irish sources while the PRA was being set up, and Gillespie recalls that particular stress was laid on the need for stringent regulation. “In Ireland, they found that some of the rogues who could no longer make a living from horseracing would then find their way into pony racing. We had to be careful about protecting the reputation of British racing as well as developing young careers.

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| RACING |

“Now, we’ve got it so well legislated and authorised and official. We’re a bit the envy of the Irish because it’s still very much ad hoc in Ireland and we’ve got ours so well nailed down.” “We do it in a very English way,” says Clarissa Daly, chief executive of the PRA. “We are regulated to the hilt.” Ponies are registered, children are registered and must produce the signatures of those who say they are qualified to take part. The Joint Measurement Board must certify that each pony is no taller than 148cm, or about 14.2 hands high. Random blood tests are taken from the ponies. While some pony races are organised by Point-to-Points or pony clubs, conforming to PRA rules, the PRA also runs a series of races at proper, grown-up racecourses like Ascot, Newbury, and Newmarket. The experience these contests provide is as close as can be to actually being a jockey; the children are overseen by a chief steward and guided by a jockey coach, who walks the course with them beforehand and chews over the action with them afterwards. “You have to weigh in, weigh out, go out to the paddock,” says Tom Marquand, a fully fledged jockey now and the champion apprentice of 2015, having worked his way up through pony racing. Complying with officialdom at the track was not even half of what Marquand learned through the junior sport; with only limited financial support from his parents, who wanted to see him prove his enthusiasm for the game, Marquand had to save his own pennies to pay for the ponies and he trained them himself. “I kept them 10 minutes down the road at a little yard and I’d go down before school, after school, ride them out. It was good, learning that side of it myself without anyone telling me what to do. Obviously, I had people helping me but it was a good experience to find out what stable staff have to do on a day-to-day basis. And just to get horses to the races sound and ready to run. “I never had more than two at a time. They were never spectacular sorts. They wouldn’t buy me a pony, they made me wait until I could afford one myself. I sold that one for more, bought another one and sold that one for more, bought another one... We ended up with some nice ponies and they were all right, they won races.” In Daly’s memory, Marquand was an infrequent winner. “He never had the best pony. But he was always obviously

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WE DO IT IN A VERY ENGLISH WAY. WE ARE REGULATED TO THE HILT. CLARISSA DALY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE PRA

good.” The experience he acquired and the ability he showed eventually led him through the gates at Richard Hannon’s Wiltshire yard on his way to greater success. Not content with drawing in ‘horsey’ kids from rural areas, the PRA is making an effort to take the game to people who might otherwise never come near it. Each year, it funds 12-week courses for children with no access to their own pony at riding centres in Brixton, Teddington, Gloucester, and Croxteth in Liverpool. “They learn different things about pony racing,” Daly says, “about ponies and fitness and riding skills. Most of these kids will only ever have ridden in a school. For them to be riding in a race with others around them within 12 weeks is a big ask. It’s intensive training and the kids seem to be loving it.” One way and another, Daly says that “a lot of people are getting involved in racing who might not have touched it before. The sport is doing a bit more than perhaps it set out to do, bringing racing to a wider audience, and we’re pretty proud of the jockeys we have produced.” The PRA is facing a £20,000 gap in its annual budget in coming years when a flow of cash from the Racing Foundation, distributing proceeds from the Tote sale, runs out. Daly and Gillespie will have a strong case to present to the senior sport when they explain the need for additional funds. Funding is still more of a pressing concern in Ireland, according to Jerry Daly (no relation to Clarissa), a stalwart of the game, having, at various stages over the years, coordinated race meetings, provided commentaries, and written it all up for the press. Three years ago, he part-owned Coola Boola, winner of the Dingle Derby under Jack Kennedy. “The big worry at the moment is, Irish pony racing is dying on its feet,” Daly says. “It’s all coming down to money. The committees have to collect all the money and to run an ordinary day’s racing, you’d need 6,000 - 7,000 euros. “Dublin and Cork might be flying but in rural Ireland, the towns and villages are on their knees. I used to go into Newmarket town [in County Cork] five or six years ago and you’d easily get donations from restaurants and there would be companies looking to sponsor the races.” With money now harder to come by, Ireland stages fewer pony racing fixtures. “There always used to be about 25 a year in the Midlands. It’ll be nine or 10 this year at

LEFT: Irish National Hunt jockey Jack Kennedy far right at 13 years old, was the Irish Field Champion National Jockey


| GENERATION X |

ABOVE: 2015 Champion Apprentice, Tom Marquand, started his career pony racing

best. It was 20-to-25 in the southern region in the good times but we’re back to 13, 14, or 15 this year. “The standard of horse has probably got better, so the top two or three are pulling away from the rest, a bit like Gigginstown and Mullins; the good owners and trainers sweep everything and make it so much harder for everyone else. It’s quite an expensive sport, you have to travel so much.” Some of the best ponies are now sold to compete in England, he adds. It’s distressing to hear about such difficulties being suffered by the game that produced Charlie Swan, Adrian Maguire, Paul Townend, Noel Fehily, Jack Kennedy, and many others over the decades, up to Pat Taaffe, grandson of Arkle’s jockey, who is building his own reputation this summer. But there is no easy way forward, since control of Irish pony racing is splintered among regional organisers and there is no Clarissa Daly at the middle of the web to formulate a single business plan and give confidence to potential backers. “They’re not aligned in any way, is my understanding,” says Egan, whose Turf Club keeps a respectable distance from pony racing. “I’m not sure there’s any one person who could speak for pony racing in Ireland. On different occasions, different groups have met us, representing their own area rather than the country as a whole. They need to speak as a united voice before anyone would take them seriously.”

Jerry Daly recognises that need. “I’d love to see it being streamlined and run on a proper basis. But the older generation are very anti-The Turf Club, I suppose because they’ve been seen as the bad boys of racing for years. When that generation will go ... well, hopefully pony racing won’t be gone before then. The lads that are coming up now probably would be delighted to see a proper approach.” The involvement of children generally means that a visible effort at providing safe conditions is made by those staging pony racing, though that didn’t save a young John Egan from sustaining a broken arm in County Clare some decades ago. His was the only pony that failed to

I NEVER HAD MORE THAN TWO AT A TIME. THEY WERE NEVER SPECTACULAR SORTS. TOM MARQUAND

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| RACING |

ABOVE: Olivier Peslier, one of France’s most successful pony racing graduates

BELOW: Swedish pony racers competing at Taby Racecourse

24

take evasive action when the field rounded a corner to be confronted by an ambulance that had failed to get off the course after attending a rider unseated on the first circuit. While that hopefully won’t happen again anywhere, ambulances are presumably in regular use at French pony races, which can take place over hurdles and even cross-country fences. “I know a lot of kids in England that would love it,” says Geoffroy de la Sayette, a Frenchman who married and settled down in Cambridgeshire, where he now runs pony racing for the local Point-to-Points and trains ponies for his son. “When I say to the French, ‘They don’t jump in English pony racing,’ they never understand. Because, to the French, English racing is the home of jumping; you have the Grand National and Cheltenham.” De La Sayette believes he may have helped pony racing across the Channel, having taken the now-familiar Andrews sisters, Gina and Bridget, over to compete in France when they were in their early teenage years. They returned in evangelist mood, he recalls, determined to spread the word.

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KIDS WOULD START AT THE AGE OF NINE, DOING RACES IN WHICH THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO FASTER THAN A TROT. GEOFFROY DE LA SAYETTE

“The pony races in France is quite a big thing,” he says, mentioning Olivier Peslier and Maxime Guyon among the notable jockeys who came from that direction. “Those kids would start at the age of nine, doing races in which they are not allowed to go faster than a trot, with maybe 16 runners. Then, when they’re 11, they’re allowed to do cross-country.” Unusually, children are allowed to carry whips in France, though the local steward may specify particular whip rules on each day. Also unusually, French pony racing does not admit thoroughbreds, so their ponies tend to be smaller and France may be at a disadvantage if international competition ever takes off. De la Sayette remembers an experimental race at Deauville that included ponies from England, France, Belgium, and Germany, on a day when there was Group 1 action at the Normandy track. That, for him, is the way forward for pony racing, a way of providing highlight moments that might attract a wider audience, though he foresees problems in agreeing a single set of rules for all countries. “Kids aged 13 can go and do rugby or football or tennis for their country, so why not pony racing?”


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| TRAINING |

HOOF-SURFACE I NT ER AC T I ON ST U DY Amy Barstow BVetMed, MRCVS, PhD Candidate Alamy Stock Photos / Amie Karlsson

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| SURFACES STUDY |

The contact between the foot and the surface is over in a flash in the galloping racehorse

I

n racehorses, the identification of risk factors for lameness has driven research efforts into lameness prevention strategies. The footsurface interaction is of particular interest and has been the subject of a lot of research. To date this has primarily been through the investigation of ground-surface composition and properties, in addition to the effects specific surfaces have on the horse’s way

of going. Changes in speed, stride length, and frequency have been observed, and the vibrations (shock waves) resulting from the initial footsurface collision have been measured on different surfaces. However, the surface represents only half the story: what about the foot? In practice it is the foot that we are more likely to influence on an individual level. As part of my PhD studies at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), we have investigated whether it is beneficial to use novel farriery

techniques such as ‘sole-packing’ and padding materials to improve shock absorption in horses exercising upon both firm and soft surfaces. This work has been kindly funded by the Horse Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and the RVC Paul Mellon Trust. Here we will discuss the intricacies of the footsurface interaction, what is already known about the effect of surface, and how our research into the use of solepacking materials might be another arrow to our bow in the prevention of lameness in racehorses.

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| TRAINING |

What is the foot-surface interaction?

The contact between the foot and the surface is over in a flash in the galloping racehorse (or even one trotting slowly, for that matter). However, foot contact may be broken up into four key stages to help us understand and describe the effects different surfaces and farriery techniques have.

Stage 1 – Primary impact. The foot has just hit the ground, is sliding forwards along the surface and decelerating. Vibrations are at their largest and fastest at this stage but the force the leg experiences is low because it is not yet supporting the horse’s bodyweight.

Stage 2 – Secondary impact.

ABOVE: Surfaces have primarily been the target for enhancing shock absorption

The surface story so far

Whilst musculoskeletal disorders in horses are a multifactorial phenomenon, studies have shown that certain surfaces and surface properties are associated with higher injury rates. Injuries are more likely when the going is firm, and generally dirt surfaces have higher injury rates during both racing and training, where they may increase the incidence of ‘bucked shins.’ Additionally, there is evidence to suggest submaximal exercise (walking) on a concrete surface compared to a dirt surface increases the likelihood of joint pathology

The leg starts to take on the load of the horse’s bodyweight and the force exerted upon the leg starts to increase.

Stage 3 – Support phase. When maximal force is exerted upon the leg.

Stage 4 – Breakover, or foot off. The heel lifts off the ground, the foot rolls upwards and forwards around the toe (which rotates downwards and into a soft surface) before the foot is lifted off the ground completely.

Rapid deceleration and the subsequent distal limb vibrations and high forces are thought to contribute to injuries. It is therefore Stages 1 and 3 that are often considered during foot-surface interaction investigations. The aim of my PhD is to investigate the effects of sole-packing materials upon impact vibrations in horses and therefore this article will mainly focus on Stage 1, primary impact.

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Sole packing has proved to aid shock absortion


| SURFACES STUDY |

A COMBINATION OF FORCE MEASURING HORSESHOES, LIMB-MOUNTED ACCELEROMETERS, AND HIGH-SPEED VIDEO HAS PROVED A SUCCESSFUL TECHNIQUE. developing. In general, as surface firmness increases, the size (magnitude) and speed (frequency) of the vibrations experienced during primary impact (Stage 1) increase too. Absorbing these impact vibrations through the use of specific surfaces and shoeing materials may play a role in reducing the risk of lameness developing. Surfaces have primarily been the target for enhancing shock absorption and there are various ways to analyse them. These analyses help us understand how current surfaces are performing, what affects their shock absorbing capacity, and how we might design the surfaces of the future. Various training and racing surfaces are available at racecourse and training centres around the world. In thoroughbred racing, dirt, synthetic, and turf surfaces have received the most attention from researchers. There are two main approaches to investigating surfaces:

1 2

Using devices to measure specific surface properties Measuring live horses directly

There are multiple devices that have been designed to test racing surfaces. The ‘going stick’ is probably the most well known and is in regular use at UK racecourses. It is used for turf surfaces and measures the force needed to push it into the ground and pull it back out again. This device is particularly useful for monitoring surface properties of individual racecourses over time and is essential for compiling race day ‘going’ reports. The Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester (OBST) is another device. It aims to mimic the foot-surface impact (Stage 1 of footsurface contact) and the subsequent loading of the limb (Stages 2 and 3). It does this by replicating the speed and load of the leading forelimb in a galloping thoroughbred. The OBST can measure peak load (force) and has the useful ability to take into account the forward sliding of the foot, which sets it apart from other, simpler designs. There are other devices available but these remain the most specific and widely used. Both are particularly useful for ongoing monitoring and investigating the effect of surface management regimes and weather conditions on surface properties. However, they do not necessarily measure the effect upon the moving horse.

INFO More information can be found in the ‘Racing Surfaces’ white paper http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/resources/White_Paper_final.pdf and the ‘Equine Surfaces White Paper’ http://inside.fei.org/system/ files/Equine%20Surfaces%20White%20Paper.pdf

ABOVE: The traditional going stick being used to check the ground conditions

There are a variety of methods that can be used to measure the horse in motion. These include: force plates, pressure mats, force measuring horseshoes, limb-mounted accelerometers, body mounted sensors, and high-speed video equipment. Some methods are fairly easy to transport to training stables and can be used ‘in the field,’ while others such as force plates can be more challenging. The use of sensors that can be attached to the horse itself and high-speed video cameras have therefore proved highly valuable in horse-surface investigations. A combination of force measuring horseshoes, limb mounted accelerometers, and high-speed video has proved a successful technique for investigating the effect of surface upon harnessed trotters, and studies in other groups of horses have used accelerometers with great success, too. What many surface studies show is that hoof impact vibration increases with surface firmness. However, surface firmness is only one of many properties which must be taken into account when considering surface design. Furthermore, surface properties are also influenced by the weather – particularly rain, which alters the water content, and temperature, which affects waxed surfaces. Designing the ‘best’ surface is therefore a complex task and it is clear that we do not yet have all the information required to achieve this. However, we are constantly moving in the right direction. ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| TRAINING |

So, what about the foot?

Despite the regularity with which horses receive farriery attention, there is limited scientific evidence regarding the effect of shoeing. Shoeing is clearly a very practical and successful intervention; otherwise, I’m sure we would not still be doing it after all these years! However, a greater knowledge of the effect of shoeing and shoeing modifications may contribute to the marginal gains that take a horse from second to first. In previous studies, there has been some work carried out on the effect of different shoe materials and shapes as well as foot slip and grip, breakover, and sole-packing and padding methods. With regards to improving shock absorption, the use of plastic shoes and certain packing and padding methods have been shown to reduce the size and speed of the impact vibrations. However, these interventions are not always practical, as non-metal shoes wear out more quickly, and adding materials between the shoe and hoof can cause the shoe to become loose. We have been investigating the effect of pour-in sole-packing materials on hoof vibration in horses. Our studies have explored their shock absorbing ability when used with both steel and aluminium shoes on firm and soft surfaces. We hypothesise that using a pour-in sole-packing material will improve shock absorption and reduce hoof impact vibration size and speed.

ONCE THE HORSES WERE ALL KITTED UP THEY WERE WALKED AND TROTTED IN HAND, ON BOTH A FIRM GRAVEL SURFACE AND A WAXED SAND AND RUBBER SURFACE. How have we done this?

Our work relies on hoof-mounted accelerometers which measure the impact vibrations (Figure 2). The studies have used both cadaver legs and live horses. The cadaver studies utilised a custom designed device, essentially a slide, which delivers a horse forelimb (sectioned at the elbow) to the ground, simulating the primary impact (Stage 1) in a trotting horse. Aluminium and steel shoes both with and without packing material in place were tested using this method. The limbs were dropped onto both firm (bitumen) and soft (plain sand, and a waxed sand and rubber mix) surfaces. We then performed a very similar study in live horses. An accelerometer was attached to the dorsal hoof wall of the front feet using hoof glue (Figure 3). The accelerometer connects via a wire to a data logger, which records the accelerometer signal. The data logger is mounted on a surcingle while the wire is held close to the leg with a lower limb boot and an upper limb strap or vet wrap (Figure 4). So far, the horses have tolerated this surprisingly well, with only one cheeky pony taking offence! It is in the live horse studies that the benefits of using accelerometers are really seen. They are small

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and relatively easily attached, so we can take them to the horses in the field to test different surfaces and shoeing materials. This makes it far easier for us to recruit horses into our studies and enables us to collect data from different locations. In addition to the hoof-mounted accelerometers, the horses were also equipped with inertial sensors, similar to those used in studies undertaken at the Singapore Turf Club that were presented in the January issue of European Trainer. The five sensors (attached to poll, withers, pelvis, and both hip bones with double-sided tape) use a combination of magnetometers, gyroscopes, and miniature accelerometers to track movement. The movement of the left and the right of the horse can then be compared to determine if any asymmetries are present. We used these to determine if there were any differences in movement symmetry present between the different shoeing and surface combinations. Once the horses were all kitted up they were walked and trotted in hand, on both a firm gravel surface and a waxed sand and rubber surface, under four different shoeing conditions: steel shoe, steel shoe and packer, aluminium shoe, and aluminium shoe and packer. Getting through all the shoeing conditions in a group of five horses was a bit of a tall order and we are very grateful to our farrier Mark Aikens and his clients who were the guinea pigs in this study! Whilst our data analysis is ongoing we are confident that there are some interesting results to be found. Importantly we have demonstrated that we have a successful and practical setup for collecting high-quality live horse data. It is hoped that we will be able to extend our study into horses travelling at faster speeds. Understanding more about the foot-surface interaction and how it is affected by shoeing and surface will support trainers in making the best training and management choices for their horses. Whilst pour-in sole-packing materials should not be thought of as a miracle cure, they may provide opportunities for preventing and managing lameness with the potential to keep horses in training and give them the best chance of being successful whilst minimising the risk of injury.

ABOVE: There is limited scientific evidence regarding the effect of shoeing and gaining speed


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| INDUSTRY |

THE TRUE COST Lissa Oliver

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Alamy Stock Photos / Anne-Armelle Langlois / Caroline Norris

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| COST OF TRAINING |

One of the largest financial outlays for trainers is staff

OF TRAINING ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| INDUSTRY |

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IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE MAJORITY OF TRAINERS CONTINUE TO SURVIVE LARGELY ON THE TRADING OF HORSES. SELLING WINNING HORSES OUT OF A STABLE CAN HARDLY BE VIEWED AS A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PLAN.

he FRBC French Annual Review 2016-2017 shows that in 2016, the total distributed prize money in Britain, Ireland, France, and Germany was €528,357,185. It’s interesting to note that in France (95%) in particular and in Ireland (65%), prize money is pretty much self-funded via racing organisations, which contribute only 48% to British prize money and as little as 4% to German prize money. The contribution from owners stands at 4% in France, 7% in Germany, 16% in Britain, and 23% in Ireland. With prize money recognised as the lifeblood of racing, it’s interesting to see where it originates and even more interesting to see where it goes. In Issue 39 of European Trainer (Autumn/Winter 2012) we featured the distribution of prize money, jockey and trainer fees, and percentages. At that time there were 1,500 licensed trainers throughout Europe chasing 10% of winning prize money, from which further deductions in many cases brought that down to 7%. The figures have changed little since, and it’s no surprise that the majority of trainers continue to survive largely on the trading of horses. Selling winning horses out of a stable can hardly be viewed as a sustainable business plan and it is never going to help trainers in the lower tier break through into the higher ranks when their best horses are sold and moved to other yards. With so many relinquishing their licence each year due to rising costs and the inability to make training pay, there have been recent calls to put more in place to help trainers. Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) earlier this year launched

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a trainer marketing scheme to assist in attracting new owners, as well as the new “Experience It” campaign to provide potential owners with the experience of a day at the races as an owner. HRI also plans to assist in the collection of training fees to protect against non-payers. Gaining new owners and ensuring that they pay is only half the battle, however, and the high-profile removal of Gigginstown Stud-owned horses from Willie Mullins has highlighted the problem of the fees themselves. Mullins is not alone in maintaining the same weekly fee for 10 years, and the example set by Gigginstown shows the dangers of increasing fees when that is no longer viable. Wages, insurance, utility bills, diesel, and feed and bedding prices have all increased during the past decade but most training fees have not, which means trainers have effectively reduced their fees each year. An added problem faced by trainers in Britain and Ireland has been the changing of class on business rates payable. Training establishments in Britain have been reavaluated and as a result, Newmarketbased trainers will see an average increase of 53%. A similar increase will come into effect from 1st January 2018 for Irish trainers, where business rates have been reclassified. Some will face even more severe increases, with bills rising from €1,200 to €8,000 in some cases, due to the inclusion of unused barns and boxes within the rating. Rates now apply to all square metres of covered areas in a yard, hay barns and empty boxes included, so a yard with 100 boxes will be rated for those 100 boxes, even if only 30 boxes are filled. For trainers who have already seen their numbers fall, this is a further bitter pill to swallow and will put many out of business.

One suggestion to alleviate this and other problems has been the setting of an agreed minimum training fee, but would that be of real benefit to the trainers struggling the most, and how could it realistically be agreed? One trainer I spoke to, with fewer than 10 horses in his care, was opposed to any minimum fee, which he felt would be detrimental to smaller trainers. He argued the case that large yards would benefit and small yards would be unable to compete. Rightly or wrongly, this particular trainer does much of the work himself, is based on a farm, and produces his own hay and bedding. His costs are pared down to feed, routine veterinary and hoof care, and administrative running costs such as utilities and insurance. His insurance, with no staff and a small number of horses, is a fraction of the cost for a large trainer with perhaps 20 people in his or her employment. A minimum fee would have to take all those factors into account and would double my friend’s current weekly fee, it could be argued. That’s if we could even agree a logical minimum fee. My friend’s selling point is his cheapness. He can attract owners who cannot afford to go elsewhere. With a minimum fee in place, why would they choose his small yard in favour of a better-known, more successful yard? Those at the bottom could simply be squeezed out altogether. And so the question we must ask is, how much does it cost us, personally, to train a horse and what should our own minimum fee be in consequence? If every trainer set his or her own realistic minimum, an owner might be less able to shop around and make demands. Nor would it impose an unfair higher fee on the small trainer putting in his or her own work.


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In the Trainers’ Daily Rates survey, we ask all trainers across Europe 30 questions about their training fees, what are the factors that influence rates charged and how this impacts the profession. Throughout July and August 2017, European Trainer will collect data across all countries that are members of the European Trainers Federation (ETF). The survey is anonymous; however, trainers who are happy to be quoted are asked to provide their contact details at the end of the survey. The 30 questions cover aspects such as rent, ownership, horses-in-training, staff, utilities, and facilities amongst other key running costs. Many trainers across Europe are affected by the business rates revaluation that have been coming into effect since April. Will trainers be forced to increase their rates significantly to afford to stay in their current location, or will there be a push to relocate nationally or to the continent? Most importantly, we will look at how trainers ultimately arrive at their fees, be it to have funds to re-invest in the business or as a take-home income.

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| INDUSTRY |

Where to begin? Weekly rent, mortgage or original purchase price or current value of the premises? There alone we have huge variations from one yard to the next. Then comes the prickly subject of rates, which can start as low as €60 a month and soar to €1,200 a month. They vary, too, not only from country to country, but by area in some countries. With premises comes insurance, and that is another variable cost. Several companies can offer a trainer a wide choice of options and cost, allowing the trainer to shop around and save money. Individual trainers have a wide spectrum of requirements and value, meaning a basic ballpark figure could be anything from the cheapest offered policy of €40 a month to among the most expensive at €800 a month. I was told by one specialist broker that policies were available at double that €800 figure. Electricity is essential, with many stables enjoying the benefits of heat lamps in addition to lighting. Treadmills, spas, and a greater reliance on the latest technology all add to the monthly energy bills. Air conditioning, too, may be necessary in some areas, all of which means a monthly utility bill could fluctuate from €60 to €100 or more, depending on the season. Given the cheapest rates, lowest insurance policy, most economical use of energy, and a rent-free existence, already our monthly outgoings stand at €160. We have yet to employ staff or support a horse. Not everything is done in-house, and although diesel to and from the races may be charged for in itemised bills, daily travel to the gallops would usually be part of a standard fee if the yard does not have its own local facilities. Even in training

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Cutting costs of good quality hardly ever pays dividends

A MONTHLY UTILITY BILL COULD FLUCTUATE FROM €60 TO €100 OR MORE, DEPENDING ON THE SEASON. centres, it’s usual for trainers to take a car provide valuable information for your out onto the gallops to watch horses work. business. “Business accounts are historic. Once again, it’s down to location and local Traditionally only for tax compliance, fuel prices. Poland has the current lowest there is actually a lot of valuable average rate per litre of diesel at €1.12, information in there that’s not used,” he while Norway has the highest average rate reminds us. Rather than be afraid of the of €1.71. Fortunately most cars display business accounts, we should be using average mileage and fuel consumption per them in a more practical way. trip, which are worth noting. The smallest “Be aware of your cash flow. Examine incidentals can be the largest contributory your accounts to see past trends. Look factors to failing to make the books balance. at the bigger costs. People often look at In that respect, Declan McEvoy, the electric bill or the phone bill, but Head of Tax at IFAC Accountants, they’re the little costs, you need to look always provides valuable advice to the at the bigger costs first. The profits thoroughbred industry, and when it from a business need to outweigh the comes to business accounts, he feels expenses in order for the business that most trainers are not to be sustainable. If you’re doing enough to utilise tax making a profit but have no Monthly benefits. McEvoy points available money, it could out that a good set of be that you are paying average business accounts can back loans too quickly, of €1,780 per have large debtors, or employee, based on high living costs.” a 40-hour week The biggest outgoing for a trainer is staff, and (35 in France) Eurofound (Dublin) shows in its Statutory Minimum Wages in the EU 2017 that Sweden and Italy have no minimum wage, while Poland has the lowest at €2.84 per hour. The Irish Stable Staff Association has agreed a minimum hourly rate of €10.75, the highest of the European racing nations, with France (€10.57), Germany (€8.84) and Britain (€8.80) next. On top of this comes additional statutory contributions by an employer, varying from country to country but Transport to the races is usually charged at averaging 14.8% of the employee’s salary. an extra to owners This is comprised of national insurance and pension contributions, but newly


| INDUSTRY |

There appears to be no cheap area for feed, bedding, or routine healthcare

introduced pension schemes have increased this figure in many cases. Overall, most European trainers will be looking at a monthly average of €1,780 per employee, based on a 40-hour week (35 in France). Given minimum overheads and one staff member, our weekly outlay is already €487. It’s reasonable to expect a member of staff to take care of four horses, so each horse will need to be bringing in a minimum fee of just under €122 to cover the week’s expenses. However, the horse comes with its own set of further costs, of course. Generally, prices may be averaged throughout Europe and there appears to be no cheap area for feed, bedding, or routine healthcare. Nylon headcollars are around €6, leather headcollars €30, and stable rugs €60, all of which are easily lost or damaged and regularly replaced. Bulk buying deals can be made, but the trainers at the most economic risk haven’t the number of horses to negotiate the better deals. Routine farrier visits are usually around €50-€70 per visit per horse. Similarly, routine veterinary visits are around €125 per month per horse. In these areas, where we cannot skimp or shop around for value, we are adding €80 to our weekly outgoing and raising our minimum, non-profitable weekly fee to €177.

Food and bedding is something more negotiable and some trainers can even be self-sufficient. However, even when producing your own, it is not without cost. As to estimating an average, there are so many choices of bedding and the quantity involved can be determined by the presence of rubber matting, another cost. Providing a bed for each horse could fluctuate between €4 and €8 a week, with recycled paper being the cheapest option and 20kg of shavings averaging at €8. That’s now €181 a week, without feeding the horse or covering rent or mortgage. If bedding is personal choice, then feed is even more vagarious. Proprietary brands offer large selections of balancers, coarse mix, and cube options, while many trainers still mix their own. On average, it can be said a horse will go through two proprietary bags of 14% protein feed a week, at generally around €15 (but up to €48). And don’t forget the hay or haylage. If you can buy in bulk and store it for the year ahead, you could be keeping weekly costs per horse down to €10.

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So here we are at a weekly outlay of €206 per horse. That is a conservative minimum and each trainer would have to add on the difference in utility bills, rent or mortgage, and any extra in salaries, insurance, feed, and bedding. Not everyone can operate on the cheapest available options. Michael Grassick, CEO of the Irish Racehorse Trainers’ Association, concludes, “I would say 85 percent of trainers are struggling, particularly in National Hunt. The horses just aren’t there. You see races being divided on the Flat in Dundalk but that doesn’t happen in National Hunt. There were something like 19 blank days in January, 17 in February, and 16 in March, when there was no National Hunt racing, yet there were very few balloted out and I don’t think there were any divides.” An influx of horses is needed, but also on a better-structured fee. It’s clear that most trainers do need to increase their fees and the risks of doing so are just as obvious. The rate increase in Britain and Ireland represents a perfect time to step forward, announce increases, and explain why, enabling the rest of Europe to follow suit. Instead of an agreed minimum fee, perhaps the various trainers’ associations could initiate an agreed date to annually revise fees? No one wants to be the first, but if fees increased in unison, and all owners prewarned, a united front could prove the most successful way of moving forward.


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| VETERINARY |

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| LAMENESS |

NEW STUDY LOOKING AT

T H E I M P O R TA N C E OF IDENTIFYING LOWER AND UPPER LIMB LAMENESS Leah McGlinchey Alamy Stock Photos & Leah McGlinchey BELOW: The study into fractures of the upper limb and pelvis took place at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC)

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| VETERINARY |

Horses start racing at 3 years old in Hong Kong

n thoroughbred racing, injuries to the limbs are a major welfare and safety concern and are the leading reason for horses to be out of training. Lameness is the number one reason for a high turnover in racing stables and, as many trainers know, it has huge financial implications for the owner, trainer, and the racing industry in general. Previous investigators have found that just over 50% of horses in training in England and Germany experience lameness during training and approximately 20% of horses in the UK suffer lameness that prevents them from returning to training. With this amount of horses on lay-up, it can be difficult to run a profitable racing stable. In addition to having an impact on the horse’s welfare and future career, severe musculoskeletal injury also poses a serious safety concern for jockeys. The main reason for a jockey to suffer injury in a race is a horse sustaining a catastrophic injury or sudden death. Researchers in the US found that a jockey was 171 times more likely to be injured when a horse they were riding in a race died. In thoroughbred racing, the most common life-threatening injury to horses involves fractures of bones in the fetlock. Therefore, the best way we can improve safety and welfare of both horses and

I

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jockeys is to highlight risk factors for fractures in an attempt to prevent these catastrophic injuries from occurring. In addition to the welfare of the horse and jockey, severe injuries that occur on race day have an impact on the public perception of racing. This is becoming more apparent in recent times, with an increasing number of animal right activists and the wide availability of social media. It is unknown in the future if certain races will be banned and emphasises how important research in this field is to decrease the number of these fatal injuries. While the majority of injuries occur in the lower limb, such as condylar fractures or suspensory/tendon injury, up to 30% can occur in the upper limb. Several colleagues and I have recently investigated fractures of the upper limb and pelvis in racehorses at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). Although these fractures are less common, they still pose a serious risk when they occur. These include fractures of the radius, humerus, scapula, tibia, femur, and pelvis. These bones are very large and considering the weight of the average racehorse, once a complete fracture of these bones occur there is limited chance of repairing them. It has been demonstrated by previous researchers that these fatal injuries are often the end result of a repetitive or

stress-related injury. Therefore, if we could identify these horses during training before they develop a complete fracture we may be able to prevent these fatalities. Fractures of the upper limb and pelvis can affect horses in numerous different ways. Typically, if a horse has sustained a stress fracture it shows as a severe lameness following fast work, and it improves with rest. However, sometimes these stress fractures can present as a mild lameness with an insidious onset, making it difficult for trainers or riders to observe. As a result, these early injuries can often be mistaken as something less serious, such as a sore foot. Not only is it difficult for the trainer and rider, these cases of lameness are often not straightforward for the veterinarian either. As a result, multiple tools such as radiographs, ultrasound, and bone scan may be required to make a firm diagnosis. To understand this concept, it is important to understand the mechanism of bone injury. This is similar in both horses and humans. Bone is a versatile structure composed of minerals, collagen, and water. The minerals provide stiffness and strength to the bone, while the collagen and water make it tough and give it a degree of elasticity. Although we do not associate elasticity with bones, if they did not have this property they would be extremely brittle and break very easily.


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| VETERINARY |

Lower limb surgery being carried out on a young racehorse

There are a few important cells in bone that are worth mentioning. Osteoblasts help build new bone and osteoclasts help dissolve and remove old bone so that it can be replaced by fresh, healthy bone. When a lot of stress is placed on bone, such as in certain periods of race training, this stimulates a biological response to increase the size and shape of the bone and additional bone is formed in areas of stress (bone modelling). Also, repetitive loading of the bone, from regular gallops and races, can result in small cracks forming within the bone tissue. These microcracks can join together to form stress fractures. If no extra strain is placed on this bone these microcracks can heal; however, if work is continued this can result in a catastrophic fracture developing. It is a key point to note that during the microcrack formation a

A racehorse receiving on-course treatment for a lower limb injury

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lameness may be evident. If the horse is rested at this point, the cells that break down the damaged bone (osteoclasts) cause bone resorption. This results in a temporarily weakness until the new bone is formed. Therefore, if the horse returns to work during this period of new bone formation he is at increased risk of developing a fracture. The resorption phase can occur in as quick as two weeks, but the formation of new healthy bone may take between two and four months, although this is not the same for every injury, every bone, or every horse. This means that if a horse is out of work for whatever reason for more than a few days, he may be at an increased risk of developing a fracture when put straight back into work. Multiple researchers across the world have worked to identify risk factors that may predispose racehorses to developing a fracture. It must be considered that there are different racing and training regimes, racehorse surveillance programmes, and veterinary resources across racing jurisdictions, and therefore the risk factors may not be the same in every area. Sometimes conflicting results are found. Work from the UK suggests a detrimental effect on bone of the accumulation of long-distance workouts at slow speed and that there are potential benefits of the gradual buildup of high-speed exercise. In addition, short-distance, highspeed exercise has been shown to have a protective effect on skeletal injury. There are many other risk factors to consider. Although not specifically looking at fractures, it has been shown that with


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Mr. Turgay SAKIZLI Specialist, Foreign Affairs and R&D of Racing Dept. Phone: +90 212 414 68 97 Fax : +90 212 414 69 56 E-mail: tsakizli@tjk.org


| VETERINARY |

ABOVE: How injuries to both jockeys and horses on the racecourse are dealt with pays a huge part in the public perception of horseracing

increasing age, horses are at increased chance of sustaining a musculoskeletal injury that will prevent them from returning to racing. However, the risk for a fatal injury decreases with age. There are also certain injuries that are more likely in certain age groups, such as bucked shins and tibia stress fractures in two-year-olds and humeral stress fractures in threeyear-olds. One would assume that this is associated with the development of the musculoskeletal system and its response to training regimes. The more we learn about this, the more aware trainers can become, such as, for example, knowing that a horse is more susceptible to bucked shins at a certain age and adjusting training regimes accordingly. There are numerous factors that have been found to affect the risk of injuries such as gender, quality of the race, hoof conformation, and racetrack surface. However, these factors are often inter-related in a complex manner, which often makes it difficult to accurately assess

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the risk posed by each individual factor. For example, it has been shown that the type of surface will affect the way that a horse lands and puts weight on his limbs, but the same horse doesn’t train on multiple surfaces for comparison. There will be different training regimes, shoeing practices, tack, riders, and weather conditions that will affect the way a horse will train. This makes training surfaces difficult to compare, and there are often confounding results. In Hong Kong, we examined all of the racehorses in training over 11 racing seasons. Our aim was to find out what type of fractures of the upper limb they suffered, how many of these were fatal, how successful these horses were following fracture, and how this compared to the rest of the world. Our eventual goal is to look at risk factors in an attempt to help reduce the occurrence of injuries. The incidence of fractures of the upper limb and pelvis were low over this time period. There was a total of 102,785 starts in 8,147 races with most of these (90%) being on turf. In Hong Kong, horses typically start racing as three-year-

olds rather than at two, and this may explain why we saw a greater number of fractures of the humerus compared to in the UK and US, where tibia fractures are more common. In most of the horses that developed a lameness it was obvious (grade 3 out of 5), but it is important to note that a large proportion of horses had a subtle lameness (grade 1 or 2). This is an important point, as horses in this bracket may have a very mild intermittent lameness that may go unnoticed. The lameness may typically improve with rest and then may form a complete fatal fracture during the next period of fast work. Therefore, as previously mentioned, careful attention must be given to horses that show even a mild lameness after fast work in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and ensure that appropriate rest and treatment may be administered, if necessary. Lastly, we found that a large proportion of the horses that suffered from non-fatal fractures went on to lead successful racing careers after being given time to recover: 74% of horses with upper limb fractures went on to race again, and over half of these won a race. In summary, fractures of the upper limb and pelvis are not as common as fractures and other injuries of the lower limb in racehorses. However, if lameness associated with this is not recognised early, these can develop into serious or fatal injuries. The more we research this topic the more we are learning about certain risk factors that may help decrease the occurrence of these injuries.


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PROFILE

FIN POWRIE

TH E S AV IO U R OF G R EEK R A C I N G

Chris Dixon

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Fin Powrie


| FIN POWRIE |

aking progress and facilitating change in racing can be tough and time consuming. Doing it in a challenging economic environment makes it tougher still. With that in mind, the strides being made in Greece, where the racing industry had fallen to its knees, is both admirable and encouraging. An article in a previous issue of this magazine (Greek racing hoping for revival of fortunes, Issue 45) offers a more detailed explanation of the decline of the sport in Greece. From the halcyon days of high betting turnover and large crowds at a vibrant track close to Athens, the scene at the new venue of Markopoulo, 35km from the capital, was far removed. However, in January, 2016, OPAP (a Greek-based betting company) was granted the license to organise and conduct racing in Greece. Improved relations with the Greek Jockey Club, who are still responsible for the governance of the sport, have followed, as Costas

M

Alexopoulos, Chief of Operations explains “we have a very close relationship with the Jockey Club now, there have been differences but we co-operate very well.” With the need for racing in Greece to become a commercial success, OPAP are keen to make the right calls, and has turned to Finn Powrie, a man with extensive international experience in the industry to organise and implement a plan for change. The Australian, who has previously worked in Dubai, Bahrain, India, New Zealand and his homeland, speaks with enthusiasm about the work being done in Greece and seems encouraged by the progress made since his arrival. The challenge of re-establishing racing as a popular sport and betting product in Greece is a large one and a detailed plan of action was required. “OPAP had to decide how it was going to progress Greek racing; we have founded our plans on four pillars, safety, welfare, integrity and product” explains Powrie, who has spent much of his time focusing on the first three of those areas.

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PROFILE

THE FOCUS HAS BEEN ON TRYING TO RE-ENGAGE WITH PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED OWNERS AS WELL AS ATTRACTING NEW ONES. ABOVE: Fin Powrie (right) pictured with Jimmy George, Director of Marketing, Tattersalls GB

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The current track, which has a dirt surface similar to the one used in Dubai when racing was held at Nad Al Sheba, was originally built to host the equestrian events during the Olympic Games of 2004, but had become rundown and significant investment has been required. “We started in January 2016 and have already invested more than 1 million Euros into the racetrack alone” states Alexopoulos. That investment has been overseen by Powrie, who has used his knowledge and experience to oversee a vast amount of work at Markopoulo. Explaining the process, he says “We approached it pragmatically in terms of what we inherited and what we needed to do to ensure that we had a facility and system that was going to be safe and viable”. Suggesting that to renovate all of the facilities at the venue would run to “an inordinate cost” he goes on to explain that so far much of the work has focussed on improving safety and welfare for the horses and horsemen based at the site. “We started with the track, going back to the original installers in France and renovating the surface, we have also re-rubberised lots of areas, torn down wooden fences and replaced it with proper plastic running rail so to look at it now is a very different picture to 18 months ago”.

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Powrie believes there is still room for improvement in “certain aspects of the regulatory side of things that have been inherited and don’t necessarily assist the product” but also that “significant inroads” have been made and by not compromising on the issues they have tackled, they now have a venue to be proud of. “We’ve worked very hard and have had some stumbling blocks along the way, but in terms of the safety of our people, the safety of track work and the welfare of the horses, I can guarantee the place stands up to scrutiny”. Alexopoulos is also pleased with the progress made at the track, to the point where he believes “the problem now in Greece is not the facilities, what we are struggling with now is the number of horses and number of owners in Greece”. The statistics back up those concerns. The number of racehorses in the country had fallen to less than 250 from a peak of more than 1,700, and there were less than 70 registered owners from more than 250 previously. To implement the kind of racing programme OPAP is aiming for, a significant rise in the number of horses in training is required, and in turn that also means an increase in the number of owners and trainers will need to rise.


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BRO PARK


PROFILE

WE STARTED IN JANUARY 2016 AND HAVE ALREADY INVESTED MORE THAN 1 MILLION EUROS INTO THE RACETRACK ALONE.

BELOW: The dirt surface was one of the first things to be renovated and improved

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OPAP has tackled the problem head on, travelling to the major HIT sales in the UK and Ireland to buy horses to import to Greece where they are then sold on in OPAP’s own auctions – two of which have taken place so far. At Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale at Newmarket Greek Racing were particularly busy, signing for a total of 64 horses and there are now more than 400 racehorses in Greece. By covering the cost of travel they are removing one of the barriers to importation and are not only looking to increase the number of racehorses in the country, but also the quality of that stock. Many of the horses being sent to Greece are sourced by Oliver St.Lawrence – a leading bloodstock agent in Britain who works closely with Greek racing. “We’ve looked for relatively cheap horses, up to around 7,000 Guineas, usually with form on the sand” he says, before adding “horses with form at Southwell are preferred as they seem to take well to the surface in Greece. In terms of pedigrees then anything with a USA pedigree would give you hope they’d be effective on the dirt while the Danehill-Green Desert line seems to do well over there, though we’re dealing with a pretty small pool of horses to be definitive about that.” The focus has been on buying horses that are young and sound “we bought almost all two and three-year olds, rated between 50 and 70 and we were looking for sprinter–milers. The real emphasis, though, was on buying horses that were sound and would

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be able to take their racing well,” explains St. Lawrence. More horses means more owners are also required and attracting them isn’t an easy task in a tough economic climate, though the numbers are on the rise. The focus has been on trying to re-engage with previously registered owners as well as attracting new ones, and one of the key initiatives has been a change in the rules to allow syndicates to own horses. Marketed with the slogan ‘Share the cost – Spread the joy’ the advent of syndicate ownership, a significant part of the landscape in many major racing jurisdictions, could have a hugely positive impact in Greece. The first syndicate-owned horse to run in the country was Poetic Guest, who ran in the colours of the Champagne Syndicate, a group of 10 ladies, 7 of whom had never been involved in horse ownership. A four-year old gelding by Poet’s Voice, he won by a wide margin last month on his first start since being picked up for 4,000 Guineas at Tattersalls in October. His success immediately caught the attention of the mainstream media in Greece and enquiries about ownership took a sharp upturn. The hope of the Greek racing executive is for the number of owners to double in the next three to five years, with a target of having 600 horses trained in Greece within two years and 900 in five years. For those that are attracted to racehorse ownership, levels of prize money are already better than many other countries when compared with the cost of keeping a horse in training. The minimum prize money offered is 4,000 Euros with an average of 6,500 Euros and prize money offered down to 7th place in a bid to boost entry number and field sizes. Total prize money on offer on a card is usually around the 40,000 Euro mark though every third week a more valuable meeting takes place featuring a race worth between 16000-20000 Euros. In terms of the cost of keeping a horse in training, basics training bills are expected to be in the region of 650-700 Euros per month. As Powrie, explains “in 2014 the IFHA released their data on the cost of keeping a horse against the return of prize money and it showed that owners in Greece were on average getting back 75% of their investment, which compared favourably with the rest of Europe. For example in Britain, it was only 25% and in France it was 52%. The figures are no longer released but since then our average prize money has increased.” The strategies already in place to increase ownership will help make OPAP’s goals achievable, while it’s hoped that recent improvements and further plans to change the landscape of racing in Greece will make the sport more appealing to both owners and punters. Improvements in the way the racing calendar is released have already been made, with the provisional programme now released on a quarterly basis, as is the case in the UK but a much greater change is forthcoming as Greek racing is to significantly change the way it’s races are framed. Powrie describes the current set of race conditions as “convoluted” and though they have been in place for decades he believes it’s a system that doesn’t really work. “It’s a one way valve so once horses have progressed it doesn’t allow them to come back down” he explains before detailing the plans for the future move to “a ratings-based system that is internationally recognised”. Based on the same principles as those used on a daily basis in the likes of


POLYTRACK


PROFILE

ABOVE: The welfare of the horses was high on Fin Powrie’s list of improvements that needed to be made

the UK and Ireland, horses will be allotted a rating that will move up or down based on their level of performance and current form, those ratings will be assessed following each race by a team of professional handicappers and Powrie believes the benefits will be great. “We’ll be able to frame races more easily to suit the population of horses we have and it will allow people to race their horses more regularly and also allow us to spread the prize money on offer more easily as it will give more horses a chance of winning it.” A further added benefit will surely be more competitive racing, something that racegoers and especially the betting public wish to see. So, for Greek racing’s ambitious custodians, it’s these groups that are also being targeted as they wish to spread the racing bug back across the country. When asked about the number of racegoers currently attending Markopoulo, presently around 300-500 for most meetings, Alexopoulos says “we are not happy about the number of visitors so one of our goals is to make our racecourse a destination, a place where people visit and have fun” before Powrie adds “we want to encourage more families to come racing and make racing a popular entertainment sport in Greece.” Ultimately though, for a racing industry being operated by a betting company, the need for more horses, more racing, more racegoers and in turn more interest, boils down to one thing - more turnover in the pools. OPAP must make its investment in the sport commercially viable and there is little doubt that the appetite for racing as a betting product in Greece is there.

GIVING CUSTOMERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO FIND THE RACES AND BET IN A MODERN WAY ALL OVER GREECE. 54

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Up until the late 1990s betting on racing was “much bigger than sports betting and the numbers games we have here” explains Alexopoulos, “but it started to decline when the races moved away from Athens, partly due to bad management from the state-owned company at a time when OPAP were introducing sports betting and KINO (a numbers game) and they became very popular”. Racing may never again dominate the betting landscape in the way it has previously in Greece but a greater share of the market can be targeted. Even as recently as 2007 and 2008 turnover on racing was at 200m Euros per year. That figure had dropped to 30m Euros in 2015, the year before OPAP took control, so there is work to do to restore the numbers of a decade ago - “It will be difficult after such a period of decline, but this is our goal” states Alexopoulos. It’s a goal they are working towards already, in OPAP’s first year of control turnover rose by 9m Euros to 39m and the numbers suggest the target of 50m will be reached in 2017. Further progress is anticipated in 2018 as Alexopoulos explains “in the first half of 2018 we are going to have betting on the races available on the selfservice terminals throughout the OPAP network. We are also launching an online betting platform for the races so we are gradually working on increasing sales and giving more customers the opportunity to find the races and bet in a modern way all over Greece.” So, following a difficult period for the sport in Greece, perhaps racing is on the way back. and progress is certainly being made. Much more is needed but the strides made in the last 18 months have recently been recognised by the EMHF (European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation) who in May inducted Greece as their latest member. That recognition from an outside body is appreciated by Powrie, who also appreciates the help he has had from elsewhere. “It has been a rebuilding process from the ground up using best practices. We have aligned ourselves with the people that are already doing the things we need to do and doing them well, for example the BHA in England, and we have formed very good alliances and relationships around the world because we are very keen to put in place a significant racing industry in Greece.”


Outstanding Results

Photograph by Louise Pollard Photography

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Fingal’s Cave, winning the totetrifecta pick the 1,2,3 Handicap Stakes at Catterick, trained by Phil Kirby, ridden by Kevin Scott and owned by RedHotGardogs.

“I find that Racing Feed Balancer fed with TopSpec Turbo and TopSpec Racehorse Mix is a perfect combination – the horses love it and they are running brilliantly. The high oil content means we don’t ever need to add extra oil.” Phil Kirby

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| NUTRITION |

DOES NUTRITION FA C T O R I N I N J U R Y, R E PA I R , A N D R E C O V E RY ? Dr Catherine Dunnett BSC, PHD, R.NUTR Anne-Armelle Langlois / Alamy Stock Photos

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| I N J U R Y, R E PA I R A N D R E C O V E R Y |

L

ost training days through injury or infection are problematic for trainers, both practically and commercially. It is a stark fact that 50% of thoroughbred foals, bred to race, may never reach the racecourse. In young thoroughbreds, musculoskeletal problems have been cited as the most common reason for failure to race and this appears to continue to be a major issue for horses in training. An early study carried out in 1985 in the UK reported that lameness was the single biggest contributor to lost days of training, and subsequent research 20 years later found that this was still the case, with stress fractures, which involve normal bone being exposed to abnormal stress, being cited as a significant underlying cause. Perhaps not surprisingly, two-year-olds were more susceptible to injury than threeyear-olds. Whilst there are of course many other reasons, including muscular issues such as tying up, respiratory problems, and viral infection, why horses may fail to train, in this survey medical issues accounted for only 5% of the total training days lost.

Balance between damage and repair processes are imperative

There are many factors that affect the chance of injury in thoroughbreds in training, including genetic predisposition, conformation, and training surface. Style and type of training, in terms of frequency and intensity and how this is balanced through recovery protocols, is also likely to be a significant factor in the incidence of injury. The nature of training means that a balance between damage and repair processes are imperative. Physiological systems need to be put under stress to trigger a suitable training response, which inevitably involves a degree of micro-damage. However, inadequate or ineffective recovery protocols can allow micro-damage to accumulate, as the repair

processes fails to keep pace. Vigilance is certainly important, as very early diagnosis and veterinary intervention, or even in some instances prophylaxis, is likely to form a key part in reducing injury rates. A cursory glance may lead you to think that nutrition can have no significant role in either prevention of injury or disease or indeed recovery. However, when we stop to consider the typical physiological and biochemical processes involved in injury or disease including inflammation, cell differentiation, immune response -- for example in bone and cartilage turnover -it is perhaps easier to appreciate why good nutrition should provide an important part of the strategy to reduce training days lost to injury or infection.

Strong immune system is important to support recovery and repair

Good clean forage, whether hay or haylage, has dual importance. Firstly mould, bacteria, and dust, or respirable particles, are a major contributory factor in the development of respiratory disease and so simple steps such as analysis of hay prior to use, or steaming hay, can help. Secondly, adequate forage in the diet is important to maintain a healthy microbial balance in the hindgut and to offset the negative impact of starch that may escape digestion in the small intestine. The gut is probably one of the most important organs with respect to immunity, as 70% of the cells of the immune system reside here. The horse’s immune system is not, however, just involved in prevention and recovery from disease, but is intimately involved in repair processes throughout the body. For example, following muscle damage, local immune cells infiltrate muscle to help remove the damaged muscle cells and then other immune cells including T-cells interact with stem cells, which are like cell templates, stimulating them to become new muscle cells. Development and repair processes are dependent on a wellfunctioning immune system, and studies

THE TRAINER’S TARGET IS TO PROVIDE A DIET THAT MAINTAINS THE INTEGRITY OF THE SKELETAL SYSTEM, TO RETAIN BONE DENSITY, AND TO PROMOTE HEALING ONCE TRAINING COMMENCES.

ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| NUTRITION |

Forage is a key feed element essential in the diet of young thoroughbreds

in rodents suggest that these processes may be less efficient when immune function is compromised. The immune system in horses in training is placed under pressure during training and over-training, which is an immunemediated process, and can increase the potential for infection or injury. A well-balanced diet in terms of an appropriate ratio between forage and concentrate, optimum good quality protein for delivery of important amino acids, and an optimum and not excessive intake of a wide range of micronutrients and vitamins, is important to support the immune system. Nutrients that have

ABOVE: Linseed is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid and canola oil

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been highlighted as particularly important include the amino acids arginine and glutamine, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of antioxidants. There are also secondary measures that can be taken to support the immune system via the digestive tract. Some of these are adequate forage intake, managed starch intake, and small meals. Probiotic ingredients, such as live yeasts, or prebiotics such as mannanoligosaccharides, may also be beneficial.

Low glutamine status may reflect an immune system under stress

Glutamine is an amino acid, which is naturally present in the diet, but is conditionally essential. This means that increased dietary intake of glutamine may be beneficial under certain circumstances such as infection, stress, or hard training. Glutamine is an important energy source, in place of glucose, for cells of the digestive tract and the immune system. Reduced availability of glutamine during times of increased requirement may compromise the immune system. In humans, a reduction in the level of glutamine in plasma is associated with a decrease in the ability of lymphocytes (white blood cells) to multiply themselves in response to an invading pathogen. In horses, plasma glutamine is severely depleted during viral infection but can be boosted through supplementation of the diet. European

feed legislation, however, prevents the addition of the amino acid L-glutamine to horse feeds or supplements. Glutaminerich peptides, or protein sources such as whey, which is rich in glutamine, can be used in its place. Human studies suggest that there may be a role for glutamine during training, as glutamine status is reduced with prolonged intensive training, where the over-training syndrome is a risk.

Omegas balance immunity and inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids are also of interest, having a reputed beneficial effect on the immune system and an anti-inflammatory effect, which is of relevance for the general damage and repair processes, as well as for respiratory health. The omega-3 content of a racehorse’s diet can be relatively low, as the omega-6 family of fatty acids prevail in ingredients like cereals, soya, and most vegetable oils. Interestingly, the omega-3 fatty acid content of grass is considerably higher, so access to pasture will improve the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. This has been shown in beef cattle and the milk of dairy cattle that are pasture-fed. Alfalfa and hydroponic grass should also boost the omega-3 content of the diet. Alpha linolenic acid is the most prevalent omega-3 from plant sources and is reduced considerably in


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| NUTRITION |

Many training days can be lost through injury or infection

mature forage. Linseed is also a rich source of alpha linolenic acid, and canola oil has a higher omega 3:6 ratio compared to soya or corn oil. The physiologically active longer chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexanoic acid (DHA), are synthesised from alpha linolenic acid, although this process is a relatively inefficient conversion. Ingredients such as salmon oil or algae, rich in DHA, have been used to directly supplement the equine diet with DHA. With injury comes inflammation, which may last a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks, and this is a normal and essential part of the start of the healing process, as it triggers a cascade of reactions that promotes healing. Whilst it is acknowledged that excess or prolonged inflammation is undesirable, uncontrolled use of nutrients with anti-inflammatory action may equally not always be beneficial.

Dr Green offers skeletal support

Lameness remains the single most common cause of loss of days to training for young racehorses. Whilst muscle fatigue is part and parcel of training and racing, it is worth reflecting that many injuries occur when muscles are tired and being pushed too far beyond their comfort zone. Retaining bone density, as well as maintaining a positive balance between damage and repair processes, is key in retaining skeletal integrity. Skeletal foundations have been laid in utero and during the rapid growing phase in horses, much of which is largely out of a trainer’s control. The trainer’s target is to provide a diet that maintains the integrity of the skeletal system, to retain bone density, and to promote healing once training commences. When yearlings first move into racing yards, they usually experience a significant change in their diet that has consequences for bone metabolism. This comes at a time when they may still be growing and the skeletal system is put under considerable strain. Whilst at stud farms, the largely grass-based diet fosters good calcium absorption from the digestive tract, as well as the retention of calcium within bone and reduced urinary losses. However, once in race training, the absence of pasture, reduction in forage, and increase in high cereal-containing concentrates is characteristically paralleled by a reduction in bone density

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seen in horses in early training. In the past, this has been attributed to a lower dietary cation-to-anion basis of the diet, which indirectly affects calcium balance through concomitant hormonal action on absorption, resorption, and excretion of calcium. This has commonly been addressed by adding more calcium in the diet. However, there is perhaps a rationale for limiting the intake of cereals and maximising forage intake to support the skeletal and other body systems. Whilst the intake of calcium and phosphorus are important during training, other nutrients such as vitamin D have a vital role to play in proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus, as well as acting as the gatekeeper for the resorption of calcium from bone. Equally, another of Dr Green’s gifts is vitamin K1, which through its effect in activating osteocalcin and matrix GLA protein firstly directs calcium to bone and then helps cement the mineral within the structure of bone to sure-up bone density. Silica is another feed ingredient that has been promoted to support bone density and integrity during training.

GOOD NUTRITION SHOULD PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE STRATEGY TO REDUCE TRAINING DAYS LOST TO INJURY OR INFECTION. Curiously, pasture – an ingredient that seems to offer such benefits to horses in training – is not always available as part of the in-training diet, which perhaps should trigger some pause for thought. Whilst nutrition is certainly not the answer in isolation to reducing injury rates in racehorses, a balanced progressive diet can offer several elements of support as part of a well-structured training regime.


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| VETERINARY |

M E R I A L R A C E D AY Over 40 vets from around the UK attended the continuing professional development event titled ‘How to optimise the respiratory effects on performance’ at York Racecourse this May. The event, organised by European Trainer Magazine and Merial Animal Health, featured a panel of expert speakers and was co-sponsored by Connolly’s RED MILLS & Foran Equine and Haygain. Louise Jones BSc, MSc attended the seminar and reports on the key messages as follows.

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FUNCTIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF UPPER AIRWAY OBSTRUCTIONS D R K AT E A L L E N

D

r Kate Allen, from Langford Vets, commenced proceedings, explaining that whilst upper airway obstruction (UAO) is second to lameness as the most common cause of poor performance, it is difficult to quantify its significance on athletic performance. UAO is caused by a narrowing of the airways, often as a result of the collapse of the varying upper airway structures. However, Dr Allen emphasised that it is a complex condition and in almost half of the cases involves the concurrent collapse of multiple structures. Horses suffering from UAO initially attempt to maintain airflow by increasing inspiration time and decreasing respiratory frequency. However, if this is unsuccessful then the amount of oxygen available for the muscles to work effectively will be reduced, resulting in impaired performance. The degree to which athletic performance is affected, especially in the elite horse, will obviously depend on several factors, including: ● The severity and complexity of the condition: palatal instability alone will only have a mild effect on performance, but when occurring in conjunction with dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) the impact will be significantly greater. ● The duration of time the obstruction is present within a bout of exercise: DDSP at the end of a race is likely to be less performance limiting than if it occurs during the early stages. ● The work the horse is undertaking: arytenoid cartilage collapse (ACC) at low exercise intensity does not significantly impact respiratory frequency, but at higher intensity exercise ACC will reduce respiratory frequency.

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● Individual variation: the effect of DDSP on oxygen consumption can vary from as little as 0.1% up to 15% depending on the individual.

Dr Allen went on to examine the possible link between UAO, exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) and inflammatory airway disease (IAD). She stressed that whilst there is good scientific rational suggesting that UAO may exacerbate EIPH by further increasing pressure differences between the inside of the capillary and the alveolar, at present there is limited clinical data to support the theory. Likewise, there is minimal evidence to link UAO and lower airway disease, although there have been occasional examples where treatment for lower airway disease results in a reduction of abnormal respiratory noise. Dr Allen stated ‘the winning horse is the one that slows the least’ and described how making a 1% improvement to a horse finishing in fourth place would mean that they should then go on to win 50-75% of the time, in national hunt and flat racing respectively. Dr Allen warned that any UAO in the racehorses is likely to have a detrimental impact on performance. She also advised that the effects of certain conditions such as pharyngeal wall collapse and severe medial deviation of the aryepiglottic folds may currently be underestimated. Dr Allen concluded that whilst treatments for UAO may reduce the issue, unfortunately they are not always effective in restoring the horse’s full respiratory capacity.


| M E R I A L R A C E D AY |

KEY ASPECTS OF INFECTIOUS RESPIRATORY DISEASE PROFESSOR ANDY DURHAM

P

rofessor Andy Durham, from Liphook Equine Hospital, discussed bacterial and viral causes of respiratory disease in horses. He provided the veterinarians with a detailed review of the various diagnostic tools available including visual assessment of the airways, bacteriology and haematology, particularly emphasising the usefulness of testing serum iron levels as a marker of inflammation. Professor Durham went on to question the clinical relevance of bacteria isolated from the nasal swabs and tracheal washes. He recommends that bacteria isolated from nasal swabs should not be regarded with pathologic relevance, unless accompanied by abnormal mucus, squamous epithelial cells and/or greater than 20% neutrophils. In addition, he highlighted that evidence of bacteria from tracheal washes is often not pathologically relevant and must be interpreted with caution. The potential for contamination during the scoping procedure is a major confounding factor. Referring to cases of strangles, Professor Durham expressed the view that using nasopharyngeal swabs to test for carriers is unreliable, even when these tests are repeated. Therefore, he recommends guttural pouch lavage as a far superior method of identifying carriers of Streptococcus equi. There are several viruses that can cause infection of the airways, potentially predisposing the horse to inflammatory airway disease (IAD) including picornaviruses, herpesviruses and equine influenza virus. Picornaviruses, which include equine rhinitis virus A (ERAV) and equine rhinitis B (ERBV), cause mild respiratory infection in horses, similar to the common cold brought about by rhinoviruses in humans. Although a significant association between IAD and seropositivity to ERAV has been confirmed, the importance and role of equine rhinitis viruses in poor performance remains unclear. Professor Durham questioned the sensitivity of the equine rhinitis virus A and B blood test. He expressed surprise that only one out of 607 samples tested at

The Animal Health Trust last year was positive, even though subclinical infections are relatively common. Of the herpesviruses known to infect horses EHV-1 and EHV-4 are the two that result in acute respiratory infection. The relevance of EHV-2 and EHV-5 is less clear and Professor Durham stressed that positive EHV-2 blood tests must be interpreted cautiously as they may be indicative of previous exposure to the virus, rather than current disease. He advised that nasal swabs may be more useful than serology as a diagnostic technique, highlighted that EHV-2 has been isolated from the nasal swabs of horses suffering from IAD, suggesting that it could play a role in aggravating the airways. Professor Durham next discussed equine influenza. He explained that the equine influenza A virus (H3N8) is diverged into two different strains - the European strain and the American strain. The latter is further divided into the Kentucky strain and the Florida strains; clade 1 and clade 2. Drawing attention to a recent outbreak in the north of England, Professor Durham stressed that equine flu caused by the Florida clade 2 virus, remains a threat in the UK. He also warned that horses that are exposed to international travel should be vaccinated against the Florida clade 1 virus, which has been detected in the USA. Professor Durham concluded his presentation by questioning the efficacy of many of the equine influenza vaccines currently used in the UK, emphasising that only one, Merialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Proteq-flu, is effective against both clade 1 and 2 of the Florida sublineage.

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| VETERINARY |

MANAGING INFLAMMATORY DISEASE DR EMMANUELLE VAN ERCK

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he importance of the horse’s environment on respiratory health cannot be overlooked. It is unavoidable that horses in training are housed indoors for much of their day, resulting in increased exposure to respirable dust, ammonia and mould. Consequently, these horses will be at an increased risk of IAD, although this may not always manifest itself as a clear respiratory problem. Often the clinical symptoms of chronic respiratory issues can be subtle but may include early fatigue, reduced recovery and an unwillingness to work. According to Dr Emmanuelle van Erck’s own research, 84% of the horses referred to a veterinarian for a regular health check, poor performance or respiratory issues were suffering from IAD and she firmly believes that managing the horse’s environment carefully is the ‘key to long-term management of IAD cases’. Dr van Erck explained the crucial importance of stable design in facilitating correct ventilation, controlling humidity and limiting exposure to potential noxious elements. She discouraged the use of ventilators and fans, which simply exacerbate the dissemination of dust and mound spores. Likewise, she highlighted the risk of storing preserved forage and bedding material within the stable building. To reduce the respiratory challenges encountered by stabled horses, Dr van Erck also recommends that they are turned out when activities such as mucking out or sweeping are taking place. She went on to explain that temperature within the stable environment is also important, advising that horses are most comfortable at temperatures around 10°C. She warned that our tendency to close windows and doors during cold weather can create the warm, humid environment favoured by harmful microorganisms. When considering bedding material, although straw has several benefits, Dr van Erck reiterated that it can be naturally contaminated with mould and fungi. Inhalation of these microorganisms can impact respiratory health and research has shown that horses are 3.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with IAD if fungi were found in their airways.

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HORSES ARE MOST COMFORTABLE AT TEMPERATURES AROUND 10°C. Paper or cardboard bedding material, which are lower in dust and other aeroallergens, are preferred by Dr van Erck. Alternatively, she encourages the use of dust-free wood shavings, provided the flake size and thickness is adequate. Another option is to use rubber matting, although this must be kept clean in order to avoid fungal growth. Forage, particularly hay, is another major source of dust and contaminants which can contribute to IAD. To reduce this risk, Dr van Erck prefers horses to be fed either commercially grown, quality controlled haylage or steamed hay. She explained that soaking hay, although economical, is not advisable and could, in fact, create an environment for bacteria to proliferate. Similarly, Dr van Erck warned against using home-made hay steamers, which may not homogenously heat the hay to the temperatures needed to destroy bacteria and mould, and therefore could exacerbate the issue by creating the ideal environment required for microbial incubation. Instead Dr van Erck advised steaming hay, using a Haygain steamer, immediately prior to feeding. She described that the heat generated in this commercially available steamer will kill the bacteria and reduce the respirable particles by more than 95%, without affecting the nutritional value of the hay. This offers trainers a practical way of providing their horses with clean forage and thereby helping to significantly decreased the risk of IAD.


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| VETERINARY |

OPTIMISING OXYGEN UPTAKE AND LUNG FUNCTION – D R S H A U N M C K A N E In the world of racing ‘time is money’ said Dr Shaun McKane, from Cotts Equine Hospital & Veterinary Specialists. He went on to use the one inch winning margin of Neptune Collonges over rival Sunnyhillboy in the 2012 Grand National to emphasise that oxygen is the key in making the horse the ultimate athlete and ‘every molecule of oxygen is important’. Dr McKane explained that relative to other species, horses have 2.5 times more lung surface area and almost 20 times greater cardiac output than humans. In addition, splenic contraction during exercise means that horses have the ability to increase the volume of circulating red blood cells by as much as 65%, resulting in a doubling of their oxygen carrying capacity. Dr McKane asked the question – ‘what makes the average horse average?’ The answer – lack of ability, inadequate training and/or a reduction in their maximum oxygen uptake, scientifically referred to as VO2 max. Discussing the importance of optimal training Dr McKane explained that if you train sub-maximally, you will perform sub-maximally. Regular, lengthy aerobic exercise will help to condition the horse by increasing mitochondria numbers and muscle capillary density. However, this type

of training will not be sufficient to optimise the horses VO2 max, which is a high indicator of athletic potential and has been found to be highly correlated with race times in thoroughbred horses. To achieve optimal VO2 max, high intensity ‘interval training’ is essential, plus this type of training will also condition both the bones and tendons. Dr McKane went on to discuss the potential detrimental impact of airway inflammation and EIPH on athletic performance. He reiterated that whilst inflammation can promote EIPH it doesn’t necessarily cause it. Nevertheless, he advises that care should be taken when recommending exercise for horses suspected to be suffering from pulmonary inflammatory disease as they may be at greater risk of EIPH. Discussing the effect of EIPH on performance, Dr McKane highlighted that the degree of EIPH should be considered. He explained that mild bleeding (grade 1-2 EIPH) will not affect performance, although more severe bleeding (grade 3-4) will reduce athletic ability. Dr McKane recommended routine monitoring of racehorses for signs of airway dysfunction by regularly carrying out cytologic evaluation of tracheal washes or bronchoalveolar lavages. Carrying out these

evaluations close to a race will obviously be helpful in determining if the horse is ‘fit to race’ but Dr McKane’s preference would be to undertake these tests 10 days pre-race, thus allowing sufficient time for steroid treatment and an adequate withdrawal period. He also encouraged the use of pre-emptive testing on horses that are considered to be performing well. In addition, Dr McKane highlighted that whilst resting horses suffering from EIPH may be appropriate, extended periods off work (e.g. 3 weeks) would result in fitness returning to basal levels. Finally, Dr McKane touched on seasonal aspects of respiratory issues, explaining that he has observed an increase in issues around February-March, which could potentially be associated with an increase in fungal growth as a result of warmer weather conditions. Another high risk period is March-May, which may be linked to an increase in tree and rapeseed pollen as a similar pattern is observed in humans suffering from asthma.

ASSESSMENT OF A NOVEL ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENT FOR THOROUGHBRED HORSES IN TRAINING – OPTIMISING AND PROTECTING CELLS THROUGH NUTRITION respiratory or inflammation response of creatine kinase (CK) levels in horses MAUREEN problems can arise. Free radicals will receiving the supplement during the DOWLING bind onto the membranes of cells training regime. In addition, following Maureen Dowling from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin (UCD), summarised her research about using a natural antioxidant and fish oil supplement on horses in training. She explained that oxidation is simply the production of volatile free radical atoms and is a completely natural process necessary for all biological pathways. Oxidation can become detrimental to horses when the antioxidant/oxidant equilibrium changes in favour of oxidants, otherwise known as free radicals. She explained that horses have endogenous antioxidants, which can normally control oxidant production, however when a stress factor is introduced, such as exercise,

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causing erosion to the membrane, leading to cell necrosis and ultimately tissue damage. Antioxidants prevent this damage by binding to the oxidant before it gets to the cell or within the cell. Natural sources of antioxidants such as bioflavonoids allow for immediately available antioxidant properties. Maureen Dowling described how unfit or pre-trained horses are more susceptible to muscle cell breakdown. In her research Dowling has shown that supplementation with a natural antioxidant and fish oil supplement prior to and throughout the training process allows a build-up of antioxidant protection before cells are affected. The research carried out in UCD showed a significant reduction

12 weeks of supplementation, horses had higher levels of Ð-tocopherol than those not supplemented. Plus, following a maximum intensity treadmill exercise after 12 weeks of training, horses who didn’t receive the supplement had significantly higher levels of oxidation in their blood than those that were on the supplement. Unsurprisingly, given the calibre and expertise of all the speakers the seminar was a great success and instigated numerous questions and discussions amongst the veterinarians in attendance.


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Upcoming Races

August & September 2017 RACE

DISTANCE

PRIZE FUND

CLASS

AGE

Saturday 12 August 2017 The Betfred TV / EBF Stallions Dick Hern Stakes (Listed Race)

1m 37y

£47000

1

3+

The Betfred Mobile EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes (81-100)

6f

£30000

2

3+

The Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes (Group 3)

1m 2f 42y

£63000

1

3+

£260000

1

3+

ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACES 12pm, Monday, 7 August

Saturday 9 September The 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 6f REMINDER

ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACE 12pm, Tuesday, 11 July (Supplementary entries by 12pm, Monday, 4 September)

The 32Red.Com Handicap Stakes

1m 6f

£100000

2

3

The 32Red Casino Handicap Stakes (0-105)

1m 6f

£60000

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3+

£63000

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The 32Red Mile (Registered As The Superior Mile Stakes) (Group 3) 1m 37y ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACES 12pm, Monday, 4 September

Travel allowances will be paid to overseas runners, please contact Kirkland Tellwright (Clerk of Course) on +44 7748 181595, for further details.


| INDUSTRY |

T

he pedigrees of racingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s human participants are often as impressive as the horses in their care, but the industry is doing all it can to attract and welcome newcomers from outside of any equestrian background in the hope they might establish future dynasties of their own. A shortage of staff Europe-wide means it is vital that new initiatives are introduced and supported, to encourage young people to seek careers within racing.

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A traditional route into racing has always been simply knocking at a door and asking. While many trainers will welcome schoolchildren looking to gain experience, not every trainer finds them useful and not every young person finds the experience useful. The key lies in matching the correct yards to those taking a keen interest, and the Racing To School programme in Britain and the similar Go Racing Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Club in Ireland are proving beneficial in that respect. Racing to School is a free education programme offered to schoolchildren and students, delivered at racecourses,


| STAFF FOCUS |

STA F F F OC U S WORK EXPERIENCE AND T H E PAT H W AY S I N T O RACEHORSE CARE

Lissa Oliver trainers’ yards, and studs across Britain. A practical, lively approach aims to tie in with the national curriculum subjects, hopefully sparking an interest in horseracing and showcasing the many different career opportunities within the industry. The programme offers unique behind-thescenes access, attracting children who have previously not been racing, so the experience inspires them to increase their understanding of the industry and improves the prospect of them seeking a career within racing. Horse Racing Ireland’s (HRI) Go Racing Kids’ Club Education Days are proving just as successful, and a

ABOVE: Some aspiring jockeys take to the turf with the Racing to School initiative

HRI / Racing to School / Alamy Stock Photos / Take the Reins record attendance was recorded recently at the Curragh Racecourse, where almost 550 pupils from eight local primary schools took part. Again, the objective is to build ties between the racecourse and its local community, encouraging an affinity with racing that will hopefully produce future racegoers and industry staff. Activities include meeting groundsmen and seeing how the track is prepared, using a racehorse simulator, seeing a farrier in action, meeting a trainer and racehorse, and meeting a jockey, all of whom speak in depth about their role, routine, and equipment. ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| INDUSTRY |

IT’S GREAT THESE YOUNG PEOPLE GET A CHANCE TO SEE THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE RACING WORLD. I DIDN’T COME FROM A TRADITIONAL RACING BACKGROUND AND WAS INSPIRED BY VISITING A TASTER DAY, SO IF WE CAN INSPIRE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT A CAREER IN THE RACING INDUSTRY THAT’S A GREAT SUCCESS. HAYLEY TURNER

Evan Arkwright, Commercial Manager at Curragh Racecourse, says of the experience, “We really enjoy entertaining so many enthusiastic children from the locality. It is important that we help develop a strong awareness amongst children so that they appreciate how much the Curragh racecourse and training grounds contribute to Ireland’s position as one of the world’s foremost horseracing nations.” Tying in well with these initiatives, but moving the experience a step forward, is the new British scheme Take The Reins, launched in May. A nationwide campaign centred around Lingfield Park Racecourse in the south of England and trainer Richard Fahey’s yard in the north, it aims to encourage inner-city teenagers to seek careers within horseracing and it’s supported by sports charity Active Communities Network (ACN), with the backing of the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) Racing Together initiative. Lingfield Racecourse hosts a number of visits for pupils from London, who receive behind-the-scenes tours, while teenagers are also offered the chance to undertake specific employability courses with work experience programmes offered at Lingfield and Fahey’s yard. Once completed, the qualification will allow them to use skills learned, within any role. Amie Canham, Fahey’s partner and a key instigator of the programme, says, “People aren’t exposed to racing enough and, not coming from a racing background myself, I thought a programme like this would open people’s eyes. We have to try to find staff from somewhere, and hopefully in the long-term there’ll be plenty of yards taking part in this.” Former jockey Hayley Turner, an ambassador for ACN, shares with Canham a lack of racing background and agrees. “It’s great these young people get a chance to see the inner workings of the racing world. I didn’t come from a

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ABOVE: Hayley Turner’s passion for racing was fuelled after a visitor taster day

BELOW: Inner-city teenagers visiting Richard Fahey’s yard as part of the Take the Reins program

traditional racing background and was inspired by visiting a taster day, so if we can inspire these young people to think about a career in the racing industry that’s a great success.” Having sparked an initial interest, the task then is to allow progression to employment, with most recent BHA figures showing 1,700 vacancies advertised each year but only 1,300 recruited, leaving a shortfall of up to 500 a year for trainers to cope with. The pilot Entry To Employment Programme, funded by the Racing Foundation and developed by the BHA, British Racing School (BRS), and Northern Racing College (NRC), was launched in Britain in May, offering 32 places to equine college students. The programme, which is currently free of charge, consists of a four-week residential training course followed by a work placement at a training yard. It is designed to encourage those who already have hands-on experience with horses into a career as a racing groom or work rider and is part of a wider, ongoing initiative to address the stable staff shortage within


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| INDUSTRY |

racing. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be placed into employment at a training yard. Carole Goldsmith, the BHA’s Director of People and Development, says of this initiative, “We have been working with equine colleges for some time now, providing careers lectures to showcase the employment opportunities in racing. We have also partnered with Racing to School and their rider programme to ensure that all equine college students get the opportunity to visit a yard and racecourse to really experience the working environment. Following a small pilot last year we established a requirement to upskill equine college graduates with more specific training related to riding and caring for racehorses to get them ready for employment in a racing yard.” Stephen Padgett, Chief Executive of the Northern Racing College, points out that the racing schools are keen to extend their services, both to students and to the industry. “Being responsive to the needs of the racing industry is an important part of our role at the NRC,” he says. “Delivering more trained staff who are passionate about horses to work in the sport is a priority and we are delighted to be involved in the initiative.” Similarly, trainer Donald McCain highlights the need for practical measures to be taken in staff recruitment when he says of the programme, “This is a great initiative and I know of a number of young people who this would suit down to the ground. Anything that can be done to recruit more stable staff should be applauded.” Attracting staff is only the beginning, however, and staff retention is almost as big a problem. Many feel that young people enter the workplace with false expectations and quickly become disillusioned and leave. Respect and recognition are key elements of any workplace and it’s important for staff to feel valued, and that includes racing staff. To that end, the National Trainers’ Federation (NTF) has announced a “Team Champion” title to be awarded annually to the stable with employment practices that create the best team ethos, with the first winner announced at the NTF’s annual general meeting next February. It is hoped that the initiative will help combat

DELIVERING MORE TRAINED STAFF WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT HORSES TO WORK IN THE SPORT IS A PRIORITY. STEPHEN PADGETT

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ABOVE: Primary school children visiting the Curragh racecourse with HRI Go Racing Kids Club

the long-term stable staff crisis affecting many yards. The award will be judged on the methods trainers use to attract and retain staff, plus the safe working practices employed. The winning team will receive an item of infrastructure or equipment, funded by award sponsors Lycetts. In addition to celebrating the benefits of teamwork, it is hoped the creation of a team champion award will demonstrate that British trainers provide rewarding and well-supported jobs. NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold says, “It is important for the NTF, as the body supporting employers, to take a lead role in initiatives to tackle staff shortages. The workplace is our main focus and the team champion award integrates with several projects we are working on relating to management practices and employee engagement for racing grooms and riders. We are looking for ways to recognise the role trainers and their staff, acting as a team, play in developing the foundations for a successful racing stable.” Part of those teamwork building blocks have possibly been enhanced by a simple change in job title. As of this season, the age-old term of stable lads and lasses has been replaced by the more respectful and specific titles of racing groom, work rider, racing staff, and stable staff. This simple rebranding aims to highlight the skilled nature of the job and the benefits it offers in career progression. “Job descriptions haven’t been specific and the point is to make job titles something that are relevant to young people to engage them, when going into schools and meeting parents to attract people to appealing jobs in racing yards,” says Arnold. George McGrath, chief executive of the National Association of Stable Staff, which has more than 6,600 members, welcomes the change. “It’s about moving forward and giving a professional workforce a professional name,” he says. “We needed to create a more professional image.”


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Di Arbuthnont speaks at the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR)

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| EMHF |

WE LFAR E AT T HE T OP O F TH E AG END A Catching up on the latest meetings across the globe, from the Pan-American Conference in Washington, D.C., to the EMHF general assembly in Sweden, and looking forward to the upcoming beach racing season in France. Dr Paull Khan PhD

T

2017 Pan American Conference / Max Krupka

here is debate over the appropriateness of the use, in the context of horseracing, of the term ‘social licence.’ It is heard in our world with increasing frequency, but opponents point to the fact that it implies a formal power – which society, of course, does not hold, in any direct sense – to sanction or prohibit the sport. But it is surely incontestable that racing’s future is brighter where it enjoys broad public support and more precarious where there is widespread opposition. There is encouraging evidence that racing ‘gets’ this. As public sensibilities around the world shift towards ever greater concern for the wellbeing of animals, so there are numerous examples of racehorse welfare moving ever higher up the agenda of racing’s administrators. The tone has been set at the very top – it has been a mantra of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ (IFHA) chairman Louis Romanet in recent years that horse welfare must be central to the efforts of national racing authorities. And in Washington DC in May came a demonstration of the fact that our sport, where progress all too often is only achieved at glacial speed, can sometimes be nimble – dynamic, even. Alongside the Pan American Conference, but independent of it and of the IFHA, the first International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) was staged in front of a sizeable and engaged audience. Di Arbuthnot, the chief executive of British racing’s official charity in this space, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), and who is also chair of IFAR, explained that the original catalyst was a damning 1995 documentary on British television entitled ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’. The Jockey Club was quick to act to establish

RoR at the time, but it took years for the racing public first to comprehend and then to get behind the concept of providing second careers for those thoroughbreds who retire from racing still sound in body and mind. Efforts to address this issue on an international basis only had their roots some three years ago. Symposia were held in Kentucky in 2015 and Newmarket in 2016 and, powered by the invaluable support of Godolphin, IFAR was launched earlier this year. These international discussions have clearly caught the imagination of administrators in several major racing nations. In France and Japan, to name two, significant strides have been made in a short space of time. Speakers from Britain, America, Australia, and elsewhere described substantial programmes to provide alternatives for the retired racehorse. Cultural differences mean that the shape of these programmes differs, but those delivering them have found that they have learnt from each other’s experiences and past mistakes. The IFAR approach can be seen at its website http://internationalracehorseaftercare.com/. A mature discussion of the issue of euthanasia is also being promoted by the forum. In summarising the work of IFAR to the main Pan American Conference, Arbuthnot pointed out that, “We all have a responsibility: whenever our horse finishes its racing life, there should be aftercare.” But her main message was aimed at the racing administrators who made up the bulk of the audience: “Every single racing jurisdiction must buy into this and ensure there is some sort of aftercare provision.” Aftercare is, of course, just one – albeit important – aspect of racehorse welfare. There are countless others, and this is a subject to which we will return.

ISSUE 58 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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BEACH RACING IN EUROPE – THE IMPETUS GROWS

Readers may recall mention, in the October 2016 issue of this magazine, of a new association of the seven European racecourses which stage official thoroughbred racing. The European Beach Racing Association is holding its first meeting in Morlaix, Brittany, on July 31st. Delegates will also be attending the beach race meeting at Plestin-lesGreves on the previous afternoon. Local tourist boards will be invited and the meeting will allow discussion of how the new association can raise the profile of beach racing, to the benefit not only of the tracks themselves but also of the local regions that surround them. We will also explore ways to bring to the attention of European trainers these remarkable fixtures, which offer owners a unique and highly agreeable ambiance in which to see their horses run. We believe enhanced publicity of this form of racing can bring great touristic benefits. The MEP Horse Group, in conjunction with the European Horse Network, is to hold a meeting on July 13th at the European Parliament on equestrian tourism, and I will be presenting on the Beach Racing Association to this gathering. Anyone with an interest in this initiative is invited to contact me at paullkhan@euromedracing.eu.

ABOVE: European beach racing at Plestinles-Greves

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Stockholm the venue for a highly productive general assembly

The European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF) went back to its roots for its general assembly this year – to Stockholm, where the federation was launched in 2010. Now we have 28 member countries, and the meeting was attended by representatives of 20 of them – another record for a general assembly, which was very heartening. In racing, we all too often work in silos, blinkered to the experiences and perspectives of even our closest organisations. This isolationist tendency not only hinders development, it presents a fragmented image to decisionmakers in Brussels and elsewhere. United, we could be far stronger. At EMHF, we have pursued an active policy of inclusion: inviting other organisations to link with us on the basis that we enjoy mutual observer status at each other’s general assemblies. This began with the European and Mediterranean Stud Book Liaison Committee. We then opened our doors in successive years to the Union Europeenne du Trot (UET) and the European Equestrian Federation (EEF). Most recently, the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders’ Associations joined the fold. We can be proud of the fact that we are the only body that

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brings together thoroughbred racing, stud books, and breeders, as well as trotting and equestrian sport. The benefits of this approach were manifest at this year’s general assembly, where it was quite clear that we share common views and interests on matters such as ‘Brexit.’ We are determined to do all we can to impress on those negotiating Brexit that nothing should impair the level of ease of movement which racehorses currently enjoy when travelling internationally for racing, breeding, or other purposes. It is, for example, critical that the benefits of the Tripartite Agreement, in respect of thoroughbreds

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BELOW: The European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF) meeting, this year held in Stockholm

78

travelling between Great Britain, Ireland, and France, be maintained. The number of thoroughbreds that travel to, from, or through Britain each year is very high. The spectre of border queues is a real one which we must press to avert. The EMHF also agreed a stance on anabolic steroids and similar substances which goes above and beyond that of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. The relevant article in the IFHA’s International Agreement (Article 6E), while confirming that such major doping agents are not to be administered to racehorses at any time in their career, also makes provision for what is called a ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption.’ It sets out this circumstance: “When the Racing Authority has decided to offer the facility for such exceptional use for therapeutic purposes and where no other reasonable therapeutic alternative exists,” such substances may be administered. However, EMHF, mindful of the advice of the specialist committee for our region – the European Horserace Scientific Liaison Committee, does not support the inclusion – within its member countries’ rules of racing, of any such exemption. We also agreed to place an increasing focus, in each of our countries, on out-of-competition testing, which is so necessary now because of the emergence of substances whose effects can outlast their detectability, thereby rendering raceday testing potentially ineffective. It is hoped and expected that all EMHF member countries will follow this line. In this way, trainers in any of our countries can be confident that the field on which they are playing, when welcoming runners from abroad, is a level one. If one looks at the upper echelons of racing administration around the world, one cannot help but notice the absence of female faces. Chairmen of racing authorities are invariably just that – men, and even when the achievements of women are celebrated, it is noticeable that the recipients are usually chosen by men and their

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 58

“TRAINERS IN ANY OF OUR COUNTRIES CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT THE FIELD ON WHICH THEY ARE PLAYING… IS A LEVEL ONE. awards presented by men. EMHF has been as guilty of this bias as any and it was therefore most pleasing that our general assembly appointed women to not just one but both of the vacant positions on our executive council. Mrs Helena Gartner, Chief Administrative Officer at the Swedish Horseracing Authority, and Dr Martina Krejci, SecretaryGeneral of the Jockey Club of the Czech Republic, become the first two female members at our top table. Let us hope this proves to be a small but significant step towards appropriate minority representation in the sport. Improved female representation is a subject dear to the heart of Bjorn Eklund, ex-CEO of the Swedish racing authority, who now maintains links with the organisation as our honorary life president. It is to him that I turn for the last word: “I’m proud that EMHF was set up in Stockholm seven years ago, with strong support from IFHA chairman Louis Romanet. We need each other in the horseracing world, big nations and small nations alike, as the racing world is more vulnerable than we sometimes think. “In EMHF we treat each other with mutual respect.”


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| TRAINING |

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remember my first yearling and two-year-oldin-training sales at Keeneland, Woodbine, and Tattersalls. To my untrained eye, and despite tracing backwards through the bloodlines, each and every horse appeared sound and fit, looking like a million bucks. Although few horses ever actually sold for that amount, every inch of those young racehorse wannabes was gleaming from nose to toes. Even their feet were buffed and polished as perfectly as a pair of Usher’s coveted shoes. Possibly because young horses for sale are primped and preened to the gills, few potential buyers actually ever pick their feet up to inspect them. Instead, buyers tend to focus on joints and throats, using the extensive repository to review joint radiographs (X-rays) and scoping prospects’ throats. “The horses in the September (yearling) sales are simply glamorous, including their feet. I would estimate that only 10% of buyers ever actually pick up at foot at those sales,” remarks Sam Christian, a Kentucky-based farrier servicing several top-level operations such as Shadwell Farm. In general, the expectation appears to be that if the throat and joints are clear and the young horse appears straight, their feet must also be in good condition. While some horses may have hidden surprises once their party shoes are removed (indicating that some of those fancy feet are in fact simply mutton dressed as lamb), Mark Dewey, a highly sought-after racing farrier, attests this is not generally the case. “Nowadays, most of the farm vets and farriers working on young thoroughbreds for sale that I collaborate with, like Sam Christian, do a great job preparing these horses’ feet and straightening them out to maximise their sales value. Still, when they come to the track as two-year-olds, there is some work to be done,” says Dewey. Over the span of his 40-year career, Dewey has worked “behind the scenes,” so to speak, helping horses like 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man streak to success. Dewey’s comment of course begs the question, what changes need to be made and how do these fancy feet hold up once they hit the racecourse? Are young thoroughbred feet properly prepared for meeting the grueling training schedule they must quickly become accustomed to, or are they simply…bling? As in, fashionable and attractive but with limited functionality?

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RIGHT: Every foal needs the best hoof care to give it every chance of a successful racing career

Transitioning to the Track

Dewey says, “Most farriers on the farms have got the feet in decent shape by the time I see these young horses at the track. The most problematic situation for me is that sales horses are shod to correct their limbs, to straighten them out. When I get them, I go back the other way and put their feet back in line with their limbs. The farriers on the farm are trying to make them as straight as possible for sale, but that approach is not conducive to soundness down the line. If the horse has turned out knees then they need to have their feet turned out.” Christian concurs with Dewey’s summation, saying, “I shoe for a completely different purpose than Mark. My purpose is to prepare young horses for sale, and for that purpose, the focus is on conformation.” He adds, “I give 100% to getting a nice foot on the foal and giving each and every foal the best chance at a racing career.” Christian examines foals for the first time anywhere between five days and two weeks of age. Right away, he watches them walk and identifies what problem(s) need addressing. Toeing in, for example, is a relatively common condition Christian sees and immediately takes steps to correct. “I examine each foal every two weeks. It is amazing how quickly foals change and how quickly they can get away from you if you don’t assess them frequently. The greatest chance we have at correcting them is when they are young,” Christian explains.

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Addressing Underslung Heels

Once they get to the racecourse, a major problem facing young thoroughbreds in training is the heel. An underslung heel (referred to as underrun heel in some areas) is defined as a foot in which the angle of the horse’s heel is at least five degrees less than the angle of the toe. In a healthy hoof, the toe and heel angles should be very close. In other words, the heels are low and the horse often appears as if he is standing on the bulbs of his heels. “Farriers are frequently accused of cutting the heels off, contributing to the underslung heel, which is not true. We actually try to leave as much heel on as we can,” Dewey explains. Recall that horses, like most humans, land heel first. Day in and day out during training, the heel takes a bit of a beating, which is only amplified during breezing and racing. “It is hard to keep heel on horses when a thousand pounds keeps pounding down on such a small object,” summarises Dewey, adding, “The reason horses get crush and underslung heel is because as it grows, the heel tends to roll in, then crushes. If that happens then we see lameness and heel abscesses.” The goal, says Dewey, is to cut the toe, pull the shoe back, and actually grow the heel. “As a blacksmith you need to find a balance between too much and too little heel, and it can be hard to recognise when a heel is going to roll over and crush,” Dewey admits.

In a he healthy hoof, of, tthe toe and heel angles should hee be very close

The “Thin” Thoroughbred Foot

Another factor causing strife for some trainers and farriers is the inherent “thin” nature of the thoroughbred foot. Their thin walls and soles combined with standard hazards of their profession put them at risk for bruises, quarter cracks, lameness, and lost training days. Dewey notes, however, that this isn’t a new problem. “The thoroughbred industry has long been faulted for breeding horses with bad feet, and I don’t feel like this statement is true. I see the same feet today that I saw 40 years ago,” Dewey says. After decades of dealing with so-called thin thoroughbred feet, farriers have amassed an armamentarium to better trim, shoe, and balance, including glue-on shoes. “As these young horses get going, we like to use glue-on shoes to avoid the nails. These shoes provide the benefits of a bar shoe without the actual bar,” notes Dewey.


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| TRAINING |

I SEE THE SAME FEET TODAY THAT I SAW 40 YEARS AGO. On the flip side, sometimes it’s better to go rogue and pull the shoes entirely. If you’re not convinced about the potential benefits of dipping your horses’ toes in the sand, all-weather, or turf, take a peek at Bill Casner. The owner, former trainer, and breeder is well known for keeping horses barefoot, including Well Armed, who won the 2009 Dubai World Cup by 14 lengths. For more information on Casner’s philosophies, refer to Issue 38 of North American Trainer (available at http://trainermagazine. com/articles/bill-casner-breeder-ownertrainer/2015/10/26?rq=bill casner). Dewey and Christian are also no strangers to horses going barefoot. “Not every horse needs to have his shoes taken off, but in some cases it could be a good idea to take shoes off for a short period of time,” Dewey notes. The example Dewey provided described

a horse that was not overtly lame but just not striding out, strongly suggesting that the feet were the root of the problem. “When you take the shoes off these horses, they usually get worse for three or four days, then slowly get better. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks or more to improve, and if the horse is good you can leave them like that for a while. When you do finally put shoes back on, we usually get a good four or five months before they start getting sore again. That said, not all horses will do this…club-footed horses for example will not be able to go without shoes,” describes Dewey. “The trick is, trainers need an experienced farrier to help make this kind of decision,” he advises.

If the Shoe Fits….

Neal McLaughlin, assistant trainer to his brother Kiaran, agrees with both Dewey

and Christian that finding the right fit for a horse must be approached on a caseby-case basis, treating every horse as an individual. Further, McLaughlin believes that the blacksmith, both at the farm and racecourse level, must be included as part of the horse’s caretaking team with minimal micromanagement. “I view myself as a facilitator between the veterinarian and blacksmith, and together we change horses,” says McLaughlin. “It is only through experience that I learned to hire qualified people and let them do their job. A trainer’s relationship with their blacksmith is not like an employee-employer where you are dictating what you want them to do.” McLaughlin adds, “Sometimes it’s easy to blame the blacksmith for anything that goes wrong. A lot of us in this game, we have big egos. We think we have all the answers, and I’ve learned the hard way through lots of head-butting and mistakes that hiring skilled people and creating a team is the best way to go. Wayne [Lukas] was a team guy and Kiaran came under him and learned that as well. Sometimes you need to be patient because when it comes to feet, it sometimes gets worse before it gets better.”

Putting the Best Foot Forward

The correct balance of the foot is imperative for a sound horse

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“Despite having completely different purposes in terms of shoeing, we all work together, even when a horse gets sent back to the farm for some time off,” summarises Christian, adding, “Keeping young horses sound is far from formulaic.” In other words, finding the right group like McLaughlin, Dewey, and Christian who are all focused on best practices and collaboration, is much like the classic Footprints in the Sand poem. The best trainers assemble an elite group of caregivers to carry the young, developing horse, leaving only one set of footprints in the sand until that horse is ready to create his own footprints.


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diet practices. Also supports an increased production of VFAs. In addition, scFOS positively impacts on immune system response, evidenced in multiple species including equine. Biotin, chelated zinc and methionine – biotin is included at a level noted for its impact on hoof quality. Supported with chelated zinc and methionine for hoof development. QLC Antioxidants – a unique plantbased cocktail providing a high level of antioxidants which act to support total antioxidant capacity of the horse and provide a sparing effect on vitamin E when supplemented over a 9 week period. Antioxidants play a key role in cellular defence and muscular function, whilst also having a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. ● For further information please call +44 (0) 845 345 2627 or visit our website www.dodsonandhorrell.com

TRAINING AND REHABILITATION THERAPY WITH EQUISSAGE PULSE CYCLO-THERAPY MASSAGE SYSTEM General wear and tear coupled with stress can have a negative effect on muscles, joints and overall performance. During periods of both activity and rehabilitation, the Equissage Pulse Cyclo-Therapy Massage system is a vital aid in supporting the healing process for muscle groups and musculoskeletal dysfunction. Equissage Pulse Cyclo-Therapy is a drug free three-dimensional deep tissue massage treatment designed to help body tissue with its natural functions, mainly focusing on improving blood flow through the soothing effect of equine sports massage. The massage effect works in a radiating elliptical movement effect, rather than a pistonlike hammering motion which can often aggravate the muscles and joints, which stimulates blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. Safe, easy to use, natural, non-aggressive and non-invasive, when used on a daily basis to give a deeply beneficial circulatory massage. The Equissage Pulse can enhance performance, improve stride length and joint flexion, and relieve stress. In rehabilitation situations, Equissage Pulse can reduce musculoskeletal dysfunction, hypersensitivity and soft tissuerelated trauma; it can also support the treatment of acute muscle spasms and tension. In addition to massage therapies for enhanced performance and well-being, Equissage Pulse can be used for regular strapping. ● For further information on Equissage, call 0800 066 9958 or visit www.niagaraequissage.com

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| PRODUCT FOCUS |

FIBRE-BEET AND SPEEDI-BEET FOR HORSES PRONE TO ULCERS AND COLIC There are a number of causes of ulceration in the horse. Gastric ulcers can occur when stomach acids burn the unprotected portion of the stomach, while microbial disruption, due to incorrect feeding, may allow infection and ulceration both in the stomach wall and along the length of the gastrointestinal tract. The horse’s stomach constantly secretes hydrochloric acid. For a trickleeater this is essential, as acid helps prepare food for enzymatic digestion and microbial fermentation in the intestines. To protect the stomach lining there are also specialised secretory cells (goblet cells) that produce a mucin that coats it. However, if a horse is fed individual meals or is stressed – and stabling, transport, training and unfamiliar surroundings can all be stress factors - there is disruption in normal gastric functioning. Excess acid is not bound within the food and mucin secretion can stop. Stomach linings can be exposed and the acid can act directly on it. Clinical trials have shown that pectin, at high levels of acidity, forms a gel (in nutritional terms pectins are defined

as mucilages) that strengthens and thickens the stomach mucin. The presence of the lecithin – a surfactant – facilitates this process. Plant oils contain appreciable amounts of lecithin and both Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet are particularly rich in pectins. Additionally, these products have high acid-binding capacity which means they can soak up excess stomach acid and help maintain the stomach at the correct level of acidity. Being fibrous in nature, they are also well-chewed by the horse, and this action releases saliva that is rich in buffering agents. Recent clinical research has shown that components within Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet help maintain the normal gustatory/gastric/gut processes and so contribute to the integrity of the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. Fibre-Beet is a carefully designed blend of highly degradable fibre sources that provide optimum fermentation patterns to help keep the digestive system healthy. Fibre-Beet is fermented to produce high levels of butyric acid, which aids the function of the cells of the gut

wall, and low levels of lactic acid, making it an ideal alkaline feed. With an effective degradability 50% higher than forage fibre, Fibre-Beet can improve energy intake whilst keeping dietary fibre levels at an optimum. Soaked and ready to feed in only 45 minutes in cold water, or 15 minutes in warm water, the RRP is £12.35 - £13.30. ● For further information on FibreBeet, call British Horse Feeds on +44 (0)1765 680300 or visit www.britishhorsefeeds.com

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PRODUCT FOCUS THE THERAPEUTIC RANGE THAT MARTIN KEIGHLEY SWEARS BY: BACK ON TRACK®

Martin Keighley is reaping the benefits of using Back on Track products on his horses. Training with success for over a decade, Martin has been using Back on Track for the past year. “Back on Track products are top class and are making a great contribution to our results.” Back on Track have developed their infrared ceramic fabric, Welltex™ into a range of market leading garments and braces to support mobility and well-being. The Welltex fabric is infused with ceramic particles that reflect a long-wave, infrared ray back into the soft tissue, thus promoting circulation. Belinda Keighley said: “We started using a Back on Track Mesh Rug on a horse with back problems and we were so pleased with the results, we investigated other Back on Track products. Back on Track is now part of our daily routine. The therapeutic benefits of the infrared Welltex fabric are significant.” The energy that is generated from the infrared ray brings nutrients to the muscles and helps remove toxins through the lymphatic system, allowing the muscles to relax and work more efficiently. The horse becomes more supple and ready to work sooner during warm-up, and it encourages the horse to relax post-work. Belinda added: “Back on Track garments are simple to use and provide great benefits without creating extra work. All our horses

get turned out every day and we do all we can for the well-being of every horse to maximise their ability. The horses wear the Back on Track leg wraps and hock boots where necessary each night. They all travel in the Mesh Rug so they arrive at their destination with no stiffness after the journey”.

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simple dosing helps improve prescription compliance and means that inflammation can be reduced with confidence and convenience; early oral treatment with meloxicam reduces clinical signs and joint inflammation in acute synovitis. Inflacam® Granules are a costeffective alternative to other meloxicam formulations. Inflacam® Granules are available in boxes of 100 sachets, each containing 330mg of meloxicam. ● For further information, contact Virbac Limited +44 (0)1359 243243 or visit www.virbac.co.uk ● Inflacam® the flexible range of meloxicam products for horses: Available as granules, injectable or oral suspension. Legal Category [POM-V] Use medicines responsibly www.noah.co.uk/responsible


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Trainer Magazine: European Edition, issue 58 - July - September 2017  
Trainer Magazine: European Edition, issue 58 - July - September 2017