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£5.95 MAY 2020 ISSUE 189

Exercising caution Racing industry adjusts to life under lockdown C OV I D -1 9 S P E C I A L

www.theownerbreeder.com

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first foals

EXPERT OPINIONS S E E F O R Y O U R S E L F AT J U D D M O N T E . C O M

“The Expert Eye colt out of Daring Life is a lovely individual with great presence and conformation. He also has definite markings like his sire and grandsire.” PAUL CASHMAN, RATHBARRY STUD

“We felt that Expert Eye was the best looking, best performed and best value first season sire to retire in 2019 and we are delighted with the result. This is a correct, great walking filly, who, hopefully, will promote the legacy of her grandam Time Charter.”

2020 b c Expert Eye - Daring Life (Cape Cross)

WILL EDMEADES, BLOODSTOCK MANAGER TO W & R BARNETT LTD 2020 b f Expert Eye - Time Honoured (Sadler’s Wells)

“A strong colt, full of quality with a great walk and super stride, he is light on his feet and very attractive. I will certainly be sending my Gr.3-winning mare back to Expert Eye and hope to breed another just like him!” SALLY ROWLEY-WILLIAMS, BREEDER 2020 b c Expert Eye - Precious Gem (Sadler’s Wells)

“We are really happy with the filly. She is a good size for a first foal and has a lovely eye. Hopefully she will inherit some of the natural speed and ability of her sire.” TIM GREDLEY, STETCHWORTH & MIDDLE PARK STUDS 2020 b f Expert Eye - Roulette (Poet’s Voice)

“We are thrilled with our Expert Eye colt, who is very strong, well-made with lots of quality. The stallion is a nobrainer as he was a high-class 2YO who did it at the highest level as a 3YO. And Juddmonte know how to make stallions.” JOHN & PETER FAGAN, DEERPARK STUD 2020 b c Expert Eye - Sar Oiche (Teofilo)

“From day one the reports on this foal were very positive and we are delighted. We were very keen to use Expert Eye when he went to stud. His Vintage Stakes win was the best 2YO performance of the season, in my opinion, and to follow up at Royal Ascot and again at the Breeders’ Cup really showed his brilliance. He is also a great looking horse with a big walk” TROY STEVE, BLOODSTOCK AGENT FOR CASTLE ESTATES LTD 2020 b c Expert Eye – Oeuvre D’Art (Marju) Pictured

+44 (0)1638 731115 nominations@juddmonte.co.uk www.juddmonte.com

®


Welcome

Now look here: this is not the time to break ranks in racing

Editor: Edward Rosenthal Bloodstock Editor: Nancy Sexton Luxury Editor: Sarah Rodrigues Design/production: Thoroughbred Group Editorial: 12 Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1SB editor@ownerbreeder.co.uk www.theownerbreeder.com Twitter: @OwnerBreeder Instagram: ownerbreeder Equine Advertising: Giles Anderson/ Anna Alcock UK: 01380 816777 IRE: 041 971 2000 USA: 1 888 218 4430 advertise@anderson-co.com Subscriptions: Keely Brewer subscriptions@ownerbreeder.co.uk

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Thoroughbred Owner Breeder can be purchased by non-members at the following rates: 1 Year 2 Year UK £60 £100 Europe £90 £150 RoW £120 £195 Thoroughbred Owner Breeder is published by a Mutual Trading Company owned jointly by the Racehorse Owners Association and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association is a registered charity No. 1134293 Editorial views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the ROA or TBA Our monthly average readership is 20,000 Racehorse Owners Association Ltd 12 Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1SB info@roa.co.uk • www.roa.co.uk Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stanstead House, The Avenue, Newmarket CB8 9AA Tel: 01638 661 321 • Fax: 01638 665621 info@thetba.co.uk • www.thetba.co.uk

£5.95 MAY 2020 ISSUE 189

Exercising caution Racing industry adjusts to life under lockdown COV I D -1 9 S P E C I A L

www.theownerbreeder.com

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Cover: Horse and rider return from morning exercise on Warren Hill in Newmarket Photo: George Selwyn

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Edward Rosenthal Editor

28/04/2020 09:13

his is a special issue of Owner Breeder to reflect the unprecedented times we are living in. Apologies to any readers who notice that their favourite column is missing this month – we hope to resume normal service as soon as possible. Covid-19 has affected our sport from top to bottom. The oxygen on which it breathes has been cut off, resulting in people and businesses having to adapt to survive in this strange new world. In this magazine we have tried to shine a light on some of the different sectors that are feeling the effects of racing’s enforced absence, from owners, trainers and stud farms to sales houses and charities. We also cover the various initiatives put in place to help the sport’s workforce in this challenging environment. During such dark days it’s perhaps not surprising that we are all searching for some rays of sunshine to brighten the outlook. It’s heartening that the owners we have spoken to are all maintaining their numbers of horses in training for the time being, though some caution that they will be forced to review the situation if the lockdown continues indefinitely. Similarly, Flat trainers Richard Fahey and Chris Wall report that stable numbers have remained solid, though again, warn that this could change should racing not resume by early June. If racing is to return in the not-too-distant future then the UK must show it is winning the war against a deadly foe that has brought the nation to a standstill. The BHA is in a difficult – some would say impossible – position as it plans for an uncertain resumption, trying simultaneously to provide hope to the sport’s beleaguered participants, retain the support of the government, and keep the public onside while the coronavirus pandemic continues on its fatal path. As Julian Richmond-Watson and Nicholas Cooper state in their respective Leader

columns this month, unity and caution must be the order of the day. Yet it appears that some trainers, including Ralph Beckett and Mark Johnston, are disgruntled with the efforts of BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust and have requested his immediate resignation. It’s difficult to understand why anyone, let alone two such successful and highly respected trainers, would choose to break ranks at this particular moment when the stakes are so high and matters could hardly be more tense. With social distancing regulations likely to continue in place for some time yet, it could be said that racing is in a better position to restart without spectators than other sports.

“The BHA is in a difficult position as it plans for a resumption” As David Redvers points out on this month’s back page, Australia and Japan are two countries that have raced successfully behind closed doors during the current crisis by implementing strict hygiene protocols. I can’t imagine the FA Cup Final or a championship tennis match without a crowd present, being integral to the atmosphere and players’ performances, yet horseracing could be staged without the lack of a paying public impacting on the results. As racing is funded through betting money collected through the levy and the sale of picture rights, cash would start flowing back into the sport immediately upon resumption. I hope you enjoy the articles in this issue and stay safe while we all wait for the appropriate time when racing can again be staged.

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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Contents

May 2020

34

News & Views ROA Leader United plan required for resumption

TBA Leader Let's see this crisis through

News Sales companies' flexible schedule

Changes News in a nutshell

Howard Wright Backing the BHA's Nick Rust

Features continued 5 7 8 10 14

Racing Welfare's vital work

16

Breeding operations open for business

2

Preparing runners for a racecourse return

Online selling Inglis hosts virtual auction

Industry support How to access assistance

Paddock maintenance Advice in a challenging climate

The Finish Line With David Redvers

28 34 38 42 44 61 64

Forum

Economy & bloodstock Stud protocols

Trainers in focus

Sales houses must work together

Features Stormy outlook in the sales ring

Hoping for racing to restart

Breeders' Digest

Racing Life Charity matters

Owners in lockdown

18 24

ROA Forum CEO Charlie Liverton addresses owners

TBA Forum Guidelines in place to assist breeders

48 56

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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24

18 18

64

Did you know? Our monthly average readership is

20,000

May_189_ContentsV2.indd 3

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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ROA_PrintAds_Support_2.pdf

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10:17

At the ROA we work tirelessly to support, protect and promote the interests of racehorse owners everywhere. We collaborate across the industry to make sure that owners’ voices are heard within racing – making it a more open, enjoyable and rewarding sport for everyone. SUPPORTING YOUR OWNERSHIP JOURNEY AT EVERY STEP. DISCOVER HOW - ROA.CO.UK

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ROA Leader

Nicholas Cooper President

Let’s unite to get our show back on the road B

y the time these words are being read in early May I can only hope that those who work and participate in British horseracing have a clearer idea as to when racing will resume and under what conditions. While we all yearn for some form of resumption, we have to balance this with the wider public concerns for the nation’s health and safety. It would, of course, be unthinkable to deviate from the government guidelines in developing a plan for the return of racing, just as it would for any sport. But that’s not to minimise the dreadful effect the lockdown is having on every aspect of our industry. While this association’s primary responsibility is for the owners of the 14,000 thoroughbreds in training, we must acknowledge it is those 20,000 people who directly earn their living from this industry who are most in need of help. It is widely accepted that when racing does resume, it will have to be ‘behind closed doors’ and under much stricter regulation as to who attends the events. But any racing, whatever the restrictions, will surely be welcomed with open arms after this period of isolation. So what can we expect to see if, optimistically, there is a resumption in early June? To begin with, there needs to be a sensible geographical spread of, say, two or three daily Flat fixtures. Although these might be based on the existing fixture list, the racecourses concerned will have to meet strict criteria, such as whether they lend themselves to racing behind closed doors and whether there are adequate medical facilities available to them. Control of field sizes may be imposed so that restrictions on numbers of people allowed at the track at any one time can be met. However, all races will need to be competitive to ensure betting is maximised, with each-way opportunities. A field size of ten runners would seem to be in the right ballpark and to help to achieve this a 24-hour declaration system might be temporarily introduced. Whether the races are handicaps or conditions events would not be an issue as long as they were all competitive and structured to cater for a wide section of the horse population. The number of races at a single meeting could possibly go up to nine or ten, so long as an in-out system was carefully operated. As there would be no concern for paying customers, meetings could start and end at a time that best suited the remote audience and bookmakers, who would be required to devise a system for returning an SP that was based entirely on the weight of money bet.

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One can assume that betting shops would not be allowed to open in these early weeks so racing would not receive any of the lucrative income based on pictures in shops. There would, however, be some revenue from the streaming of live pictures, and, with the betting public starved of opportunities since Cheltenham, you would imagine betting and watching racing on remote devices would be very popular. Racecourses would, nevertheless, have much reduced income from media rights and nothing from paying attendance but their costs would also be reduced. In this environment, most prize-money would come from the Levy Board and owners’ entry fees. The distribution of

“Our plan requires complete co-operation between racing and betting operators” the available prize-money would require careful planning but, for this period, racing would probably have to abandon its system of minimum values linked to class structure and spread the available prize-money to benefit the highest number of participants. Most importantly, of course, our industry has to take a united plan to government. Once agreed, there must be no bickering between the industry’s various factions and complete co-operation between racing and betting operators. Forgive the cliché, but we are all in this together. And, you never know, we might also learn something from the experience.

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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Mark Weinfeld, Meon Valley Stud

“We are delighted with our foal. He has strong quarters, a deep chest, moves very well and is very active. He takes the eye.” COLT EX LIKEABLE (DALAKHANI)

Joe Foley, Ballyhane Stud

“I’ve seen four of his foals, including two colts born on the farm out of Indian Ink and Hot Stone, who reminds me very much of Showcasing, and they are all very nice. They’re strong, quality types – there’s plenty to like.”

Ed Player, Whatton Manor Stud

“We’re thrilled with him. He’s a good size, just a strong, quality foal with good limbs and has a real presence.” COLT EX FEINT (TEOFILO)

Dwayne Woods, Brook Stud

“He’s totally correct with great size and scope. We’re very pleased with him.” COLT EX VIOLA DA BRACCIO (VETTORI)

Richard Tucker, Nelson Farm Stud

“She’s a lovely, athletic, strong filly with scope. I’m delighted with her.”

FILLY EX ROYAL BLUSH (ROYAL APPLAUSE)

SCAN ME

2020 Fee:

£6,000 ( 1 s t J a n S L F )

WITH THE CAMERA

Contact Tom Pennington: 01842 756963 or 07736 019914 - tpennington@shadwellstud.co.uk or Ellen Bishop 07826 205155 - ebishop@shadwellstud.co.uk


TBA Leader

Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman

Vanquishing virus the key to racing’s resumption W

e live in extraordinary times, and it has sometimes felt surreal to be living and working in the countryside, where farming and operating a stud have continued while most of the country is in the stranglehold of lockdown. As I wrote last month, when restrictions had been in place for a relatively short time, breeders are used to operating stringent biosecurity measures for the horses in their care, and many of the same principles apply to mitigating disease transmission in the current crisis. It is imperative for breeders in continuing their essential operations safely to follow government instructions and the TBA Protocols for Thoroughbred Breeders, which were drawn up in consultation with the Chief Veterinary Officer. In this respect the TBA website is a vital tool. It has a dedicated Covid-19 portal, covering all aspects of the pandemic, and is updated daily to ensure that breeders have access to the very latest advice including from the government. Whilst British racing is currently suspended and no date set for a resumption, and the sales season remains disrupted, we must be realistic in understanding that however important our sport is to us, its relevance is insignificant when judged against the daily death tolls attributable to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. At this stage, the risks are too great for a resumption of racing, but the time will come when the balance tilts more on the side of the reward for saving the thousands of jobs involved in breeding, racing and the servicing of our sport, and we can start again. For breeders, testing the best horses against each other on the racecourse is the only way we can select our breeding stock of the future. The thoroughbred is initially bred to race and unless we know how good and at what level it is able to do that, we are working in the dark and remain at the risk of making decisions that have no basis in racing ability to support them. The maxim of breeding the best to the best is so evident today, when assessing the merit of top stallions around the world, and a season that did not allow us to ascertain the best would be disastrous for the sport. So, let us hope that racing – and top-class racing – can return to Britain as soon as possible. The racing industry is very fortunate to have, on top of the government’s many support schemes to help employers and the self-employed, the Racing Foundation, which was funded by proceeds of the sale of the Tote to Betfred, and the Levy

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Board, which has judiciously built up reserves in recent years against a rainy day. Both these bodies will be able to help provide funds where genuine hardship arises and where possible to keep the basic structures in place so that racing is ready to resume just as soon as the opportunity arises. This may mean racing behind closed doors for some considerable time, but it is imperative there are funds from the Levy Board to sustain racing over this period. None of us knows how long the situation will last but being able to continue racing while racecourses and the Levy Board have limited income must be an essential part of the Levy Board’s role.

“We must see this crisis through and get back up and running to give hope to everyone involved” As I said earlier, breeders have been relatively sheltered from the first shock of the lockdown measures taken to control Covid-19, although National Hunt sales have been and will continue to be lost, breeze-up sales are in jeopardy and there must be a major concern about the strength of future sales. It is a worrying time for everyone in the industry, but the most important thing is to see this crisis through and get racing back up and running to give hope to everyone involved. Only then can we assess the overall damage the sport has suffered and how that will affect its future, along with breeding decisions to be made. In the meantime, I wish you all well.

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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News

Sales houses take flexible approach

8

GEORGE SELWYN

T

he spring sales season continues to be thrown into disarray by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced the delay or suspension of every auction – mostly breeze-ups – originally scheduled to take place in April and May. With so much uncertainty still hanging over the world, the summer sales calendar is also being impacted while there remains a real likelihood of the ramifications stretching on into the autumn. Come May 1 in a normal year, the Tattersalls Ascot and Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sales would have been in the books, and Tattersalls would now be preparing for the Guineas Sale in Newmarket. Goffs UK would also be reflecting on its Doncaster breeze-up sale, originally set for late April. With the Arqana May Breeze-Up Sale also under threat in Deauville, Goffs UK and Arqana confirmed last month that they will be joining forces to hold their respective breeze-up sales together in Ireland on June 29 and 30. While the sale remains dependent on the resumption of racing in some form in either Britain, France and/or Ireland, the tentative plan is for the two-year-olds to breeze at Naas racecourse, potentially in a timed fashion, several days before going through the ring at Goffs’ Kildare Paddocks. An online bidding facility will also be in place to support the live auction. Tattersalls, meanwhile, plans to stage its Craven Sale alongside the Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-Up Sale on June 23. In the event horses are unable to breeze in Newmarket, contingency plans have been made for breezes to take place in the week beginning June 8; Irishbased horses will breeze under full sale conditions at an Irish racecourse while their UK-based counterparts will breeze in Newmarket. “We’re all very anxious,” says vendor John Cullinan, representing the Breeze Up Consignors Association. “We’re aware of the difficulties in the real world and our own problems pale in comparison with all the suffering that is going on – we must not lose sight of that. “Having said that, we’re in a niche market that is a link in the chain of a

Arqana and Goffs UK will stage a joint breeze-up sale in Ireland on June 29-30

UPDATED EUROPEAN SALES SCHEDULE MAY, JUNE and JULY* Sale (original date)

Current dates

Tattersalls Ascot June (June 2)

June 2

Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-Up (April 1)

June 23

Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up (April 13-15)

June 23

Arqana Lumet Show (June 27)

June 27

Arqana May Breeze-Up (May 8-9)

June 29-30

Goffs UK Breeze-Up (April 22-23)

June 29-30

Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up (April 30 - May 1) Tattersalls July Sale (July 8-10)

July 6-7 July 8-10

Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale (June 24-25)

Week beginning July 13

Tattersalls Ireland May Store Sale (May 12)

Week beginning July 13

Tattersalls Ascot July (July 14)

July 14

Arqana Summer Sale (June 30 - July 2)

July 20-24

Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up (May 21-22)

July 24

Goffs UK Spring Store/HIT/P2P (May 18-21)

July 28-30

Goffs UK August Sale (August 5)

July 28-30

BBAG Spring Breeze-Up and HIT Sale (May 22)

TBC

The Goffs Punchestown, Goffs London, Goffs UK Goodwood, Tattersalls Cheltenham April and Tattersalls Cheltenham May Sales have been suspended. *As of April 23

major industry. These are horses that really have to go through a live auction process and we know all the sales companies are working very hard to come up with solutions. The sector is on a real upward curve as the source of a lot of winners and progressive horses. The consignors spent a lot of money at the yearling sales last year and I think this is the best bunch of breezers ever put together. “On the plus side, we’ve all had crash courses in digital marketing – we’ve certainly learnt a lot in the past few weeks!” Other sales normally held in May, such as the Goffs UK Spring and Tattersalls Guineas Sale, have also been delayed.

The Goffs UK London Sale, originally set for the eve of Royal Ascot, has been cancelled altogether. “What the Goffs group won’t do is hold a sale until racing returns in some form,” says Henry Beeby, Group Chief Executive of Goffs and UK Chairman of Goffs UK. “But any sale down to be held by the Goffs group in either Doncaster or Kildare this year will go ahead, and on the date closest to its original slot. “We had been looking at the London Sale already, and with so little racing going on, we felt there would be no real market for those types of horses. There is also likely to still be question marks over gatherings in London, so we took the decision to suspend it.”

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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Stories from the racing world

The stallion ranks were dealt a major blow last month with the death of Shamardal, a flagship sire at Darley’s Kildangan Stud for the best part of a decade. Aged 18, the son of Giant’s Causeway was put down as a result of health issues. Shamardal enjoyed a phenomenal season with his two-year-olds last year, notably as the sire of Pinatubo, whose brilliant unbeaten run for Charlie Appleby culminated with victories in the National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. However, it wasn’t all about Pinatubo. Andre Fabre’s Earthlight won the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes while stablemate Victor Ludorum took the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Like Pinatubo, both are unbeaten for Godolphin and are serious Classic prospects for 2020. Remarkably, the trio were produced out of a restricted book bred in the first season that Shamardal became a private stallion for the Maktoum family. Shamardal’s older representatives also did him proud in 2019, with Blue Point pulling off the King’s Stand Diamond Jubilee Stakes double at Royal Ascot and Castle Lady winning the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. Famously a wobbler as a young horse who was knocked down to Gainsborough Stud Management for just 50,000gns as a Tattersalls Houghton yearling, Shamardal was also a dual champion on the track. He was unbeaten at two for Mark Johnston, the highlight coming when he defeated Oratorio to win the Dewhurst Stakes, and at three added the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club and St James’s Palace Stakes for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin. Injury subsequently intervened, meaning that Shamardal was retired directly after his win in the St James’s Palace Stakes to take up stud duty at Darley Australia. He joined Darley’s European arm the following spring. To date, Shamardal is the sire of 146 black-type winners, among them 25 Group/Grade 1 winners. In addition to last year’s highlights, the group also

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GEORGE SELWYN

Shamardal dies aged 18

Exceptional performer: Shamardal proved top-notch on the track and at stud

includes Lope De Vega, a first-crop standout who emulated his sire by landing the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club, top twoyear-olds Lumiere and Casamento, Eclipse Stakes winner Mukhadram and Hong Kong champion Able Friend. Shamardal was switched to serving in a private capacity for the Maktoum family in 2016 as health issues caught up with him. His books dwindled as such but he is listed as covering 58 mares in 2019, including several outsiders such as Watership Down Stud’s Group 1 winner The Fugue and Juddmonte Farms’ talented Joyeuse, a half-sister to Frankel. Thankfully, Shamardal’s story is far from over. Son Lope De Vega is one of the stars of the European stallion scene at Ballylinch Stud while Darley’s roster includes Blue Point. Shadwell Stud’s Mukhadram has also made a bright start to his second career. In addition, Shamardal is also developing a reputation as a broodmare sire of real significance, as the likes of Awtaad, Hello Youmzain and Latrobe attest. Sam Bullard, Director of Stallions at Darley, said; “Shamardal has been the mainstay of our Irish stallion roster for many years and will be sorely missed by the team at Kildangan. “His record as a sire speaks for itself and we have enjoyed many great days on the racecourse courtesy of his sons and daughters. Led by the

imperious Pinatubo, Shamardal’s juvenile crop of last year was truly outstanding. He sired three unbeaten Group 1-winning juvenile colts, a feat never achieved before since the start of the Pattern.”

KILLS 99.9% OF HARMFUL BACTERIA & VIRUSES ForBio is a powerful, broad-spectrum disinfectant in a convenient soluble tablet form that provides an easy-to-use, long-lasting biosecurity barrier for horses, equipment, stables and transport. But unlike most disinfectants, ForBio is completely non-caustic and can be applied safely directly onto animals, and it does not harm animal or human health, or irritate skin or eyes.

In the current crisis a recommended solution of 1 Forbio tablet dissolved in 3 litres of warm water can be used to sanitise hands, or in a hand mister to disinfect rooms, vehicle interiors, clothing etc. Please read the information on the back of the pack carefully before use. For more information or to order, please call Peter Forster on 07518 384367

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THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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Changes

Racing’s news in a nutshell

People and business Paul and Clare Rooney

Owners decide to disperse their band of jumpers in order to concentrate on Flat runners.

Racing2Learn

New online e-learning platform for those who work in the racing and breeding industries is launched by the BHA.

David Lanigan

Jamie Spencer

Trainer, 44, decides to relocate from Newmarket to Lexington, Kentucky with his American wife Amy and two children.

Former champion jockey breaks hip after falling on the gallops while riding out for David Simcock and will be out of action indefinitely.

Saudi Cup

Mark Johnston

Britain’s winning-most trainer recovers at home in Middleham after contracting coronavirus.

Prize-money from the world’s richest horserace is withheld following the arrest of winner Maximum Security’s trainer Jason Servis for doping.

Gallops fees

Brian Wright

Jockey Club Estates reduces cost by 10% for public training centres in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom.

Credit card betting

Ban on depositing method comes into force with the aim of protecting vulnerable consumers from financial harm.

Brian Hughes

Northern-based rider claims his first champion jump jockey title with 141 wins after the season is brought to a premature end.

People obituaries

Gerry Germon 80

Former jockey was the work rider of Bruni, trained by Ryan Price to win the 1975 St Leger.

Dougie Tyler 101

Renowned bookmaker on the greyhound circuit who owned Shiny Copper, winner of the Triumph Hurdle.

Peter Beaumont 85 Yorkshire-based trainer who saddled Jodami to win the 1993 Cheltenham Gold Cup and three consecutive Irish Gold Cups.

10

Drugs baron banned from British racing since 2002 for race-fixing offences is released from prison after serving half of his 30-year sentence.

Virtual Grand National

Peak audience of 4.8 million tune in for simulated version of the Aintree race on ITV, won by Potters Corner.

Jenny Powell 70

Her blue and white silks were seen on Cheltenham Festival-winning hurdler Gaelstrom and Weatherbys Super Sprint scorer Ginger Nut.

Freddie Palmer 98

French-based jockey who rode Phil Drake to win the 1955 Derby; he later trained Fine Pearl to land the 1966 Prix de Diane.

Paul Townend 61

With wife Geraldine he owned horses with Joe Tuite and Martin Keighley and loved attending Royal Ascot and Cheltenham.

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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28/04/2020 10:26


An eye for success

May 2020

visit studlife online: tweenhills.com/studlife

A SIMPLER TIME Well, clearly life for everyone has changed but as all of us that work with livestock know, the show must go on and being able to see foals born daily has proven a real tonic. On April 4 we welcomed another absolute queen into the world: a daughter of Roaring Lion and dual Gr.1 winner Simple Verse. Isn’t this picture by Sarah Farnsworth just fantastic?

FOLLOW THE FOALS #5

TWEENHILLS TOUR

As an Easter treat, we released a brand new episode of #FollowtheFoals in association with Ascot Racecourse and Equine Productions. Episode 5 shows how the foals – now yearlings – have progressed over the winter. Don’t worry if you missed this video or the Tweenhills tour as you can view them (and more!) at tweenhills.com/media.

STAFF PROFILE Milo Herbert Stud Hand

Milo, tell us about yourself… Well, I grew up in Abergavenny and wanted to be a jockey from an early age or perhaps a huntsman. Thankfully, I got there as a jockey and have had 10 winners from around 60 rides as an Amateur – however, I’m 6ft 4 so sadly it can’t go on forever. You were at Tom George’s before Tweenhills? Yes, I started at Tom’s in January but Coronavirus intervened; Tom put me in touch with David Redvers and I joined Tweenhills recently. I learnt plenty at Tom’s and even got to ride dual Grade 1 winner The World’s End. My favourite

horse though would have to be my own Risk And Roll on whom I won two hunter chases earlier in the year. What else should we know about Milo? I’m going to Exeter University in September to read Politics – I’d say my parents sparked my interest. My favourite TV program without a doubt is Peaky Blinders. I listen to plenty of podcasts and absolutely love ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’.

Fenella Redvers makes a new friend!

Equine Productions TV’s Aly Vance joined David Redvers and the team at a blustery Tweenhills on Easter Monday for a video tour broadcast live on the internet. Pictured is young Freddie Ford – son of designer and long-time Tweenhills collaborator James Ford – who would apparently like David to home tutor him next term!

– tting the creep feeders up pu t ils wh g cin tan dis l cia The team so e hang of it yet though! th t go ite qu e v ’ ey th re su not

Tweenhills, Hartpury, Gloucestershire, GL19 3BG W: www.tweenhills.com T: + 44 (0) 1452 700177 M: + 44 (0) 7767 436373 E: davidredvers@tweenhills.com


Changes

Horse obituaries Tourist Attraction 31

The first of trainer Willie Mullins’ 72 Cheltenham Festival winners when she won the 1995 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle under Mark Dwyer.

Shamardal 18

Outstanding runner and stallion for Godolphin, winning two French Classics and siring Lope De Vega and Pinatubo.

Might And Power 26

Great Australian galloper, winner of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate in the 1990s for trainer Jack Denham.

Racehorse and stallion

Movements and retirements

Redzel

Dual winner of The Everest at Randwick, the world’s richest sprint, is retired aged seven having amassed A$16,444,000 during his career.

Killultagh Vic

Grade 1-winning hurdler for Willie Mullins, famously surviving a last fence blunder to take a Grade 2 chase at Leopardstown in 2016, is retired aged 11.

Pale King

Dabirsim colt, a facile winner on debut over 1m4f at Lingfield in March for trainer David Simcock, is sold to continue his career in Australia.

Blue Point

Godolphin’s outstanding sprinter will shuttle to Australia and stand at Northwood Park in Victoria; he will be joined by top miler Too Darn Hot.

Exceedance

Vinery Stud welcomes son of Exceed And Excel, a Group 1 winner over six furlongs in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November.

King’s Legacy

Coolmore secures stake in two-yearold son of Redoute’s Choice, winner of the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick in April.

Suedois

Stable stalwart for David O’Meara is retired aged nine; his major win came in the 2017 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland under Danny Tudhope.

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Rekindling

Melbourne Cup winner of 2017 goes back into training with Joseph O’Brien in Ireland having retired to stud last year.

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Al Kazeem TOB-May 2020:Oakgrove Stud

15/4/20

08:37

Page 1

Al Kazeem

83% of mares checked in foal (to 14th April)

Group 1 Sire! 2020 FEE PRIVATE Call David Hilton 07595 951248

bay 2008, 16.1hh by Dubawi - Kazeem (Darshaan) N Four-time Gr.1 winner by DUBAWI Won Gr.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2015, Gr.1 Coral-Eclipse, 2013, Gr.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes, 2013, Gr.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2013 N Joint Champion Older Horse in Europe in 2013 (9.5f-10.5f ) N Timeform rated 128 in three consecutive seasons N Sire of ASPETAR, Gr.1 Preis von Europa and Gr.2 Grand Prix de Chantilly (new race record), black type sprinter GOLDEN SPELL (RPR 103) and promising three-year-old filly FINERY N 56% winners to runners from his first crop N 9% black type horses to foals from his first crop

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The Howard Wright Column

BHA leading from the front in troubled times N

March 16? The quality of presentations by ministers was patchy, ranging from the confident to the diffident, but the message was unequivocal and constant: stay at home. Even as meetings were being held at Taunton and Wetherby without spectators, the BHA resolved that racing would be suspended from the following day, March 18. Within less than

GEORGE SELWYN

ick Rust deserves a medal when he eventually stands down as BHA Chief Executive. Not a gold watch, nor a bronze statuette, nor a specially commissioned painting of his favourite racehorse, but a medal, for bravery. Rust has accomplished what Hitler failed to achieve by bringing all racing in Britain to a complete stop, not once but twice. The first time was for six days in February last year, when equine influenza struck; the second is ongoing, with no firm indication when Covid-19 may release its grip sufficiently for even a controlled restart. The bold decision to call a halt in the face of equine influenza was taken on veterinary advice, and it worked. The even more courageous decision to shut up shop before the ravages of Covid-19 really struck home was taken on the basis of scientific advice then currently being given to the government. The same adherence to science had allowed the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead, yet it was not long before the after-timers were out for racing’s blood, making connections between contracting coronavirus and attendance at Cheltenham that could not be substantiated. Did the comedian and former stable lad Lee Mack visit nowhere else but a corporate box at the races around this time? Having encountered rows of hand sanitisers at Cheltenham, he and others who sought to make racing a scapegoat should have spared a thought for the thousands who landed at Gatwick on early-morning flights on Gold Cup day and sought in vain for just one gel dispenser. On the flip side, some critics within British racing seriously questioned whether the decision to call a halt had been taken prematurely. Their combination of irresponsibility and selfishness was staggering. Were they too busy to watch the daily televised press conferences from Downing Street, which started on

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead before lockdown

a week the decision was made to look even more prescient, as the government introduced its most stringent measures that effectively amounted to a nationwide lockdown. Similar restrictions followed within days in Ireland, where a bid to keep the show on the road with appropriate social distancing was cut short by government intervention. Suddenly

Nothing virtual about £2.6 million donation

BILL SELWYN

The Virtual Grand National, which received heavy prime-time attention from ITV at exactly the moment the real event should have been taking place, was not just a touch of froth, a rare sporting diversion between The Chase and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. It was a vision of the future. Audience figures were spectacular, allowing that this was a cartoon version of what might have happened at Aintree, but

Potters Corner: Aintree ‘winner’

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even more revealing was the fact that bookmakers handed over more than £2.6 million after pledging all profits on the promotion to NHS charities, after winnings had been returned and betting duty paid out. The only organisation that gained nothing from bets in the usual way was the Levy Board, which did not lobby for support. The thought of putting profits from gambling into racing at this stage was probably a step too far. Estimates of betting turnover on the Grand National usually produce wildly unsubstantiated figures, which start at £80m and rise according to the reporting medium. The VGN computation provides perhaps a more relevant comparison than most years. Based roughly on betting operators’ making around ten per cent profit, turnover would have been around £26m. The point for future reference was that all business was conducted via mobile devices, laptops or even the trusty landline telephone. Not a single penny came through retail outlets, which had gone on to the government’s list for instant closure. In terms of market share, mobile betting went ahead of traditional forms a couple of years ago; the blanket shutdown

28/04/2020 09:56


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the observation “if Ireland can continue racing, why can’t Britain?” did not look so compelling. Around the world, sporadic attempts to carry on racing, albeit with very limited attendance, depended on executing confinement, a relatively easy exercise in, say, Hong Kong, where the support for local charities was a powerful incentive to maintain a semblance of normality, Australia and some strange pockets of resilience in the US that became familiar venues on sports-starved Sky Sports Racing. In all these outposts, centralisation of facilities enabled a behind-closed-doors policy to operate. Not so, sadly, in Britain and Ireland, where one of the sport’s greatest attractions – its variety of venues – has worked against a swift resumption. The ‘stay at home’ instruction just does not work in countries where the sport’s participants are obliged to travel lengthy distances every day and the activity itself demands a defined medical presence that under current circumstances is best deployed elsewhere.

“The irresponsibility and selfishness of those who questioned the decision to stop was staggering” So, while the BHA continues to do a sterling job in communicating the intentions, hopes and plans for an easing of restrictions developed by the Industry Group, with approval from the Members’ Committee, scientific and government advice dictates that the lockdown must go on. There is no room for disagreements among the factions. Indeed, the need for a solid sense of trust between everyone who survives this terrible experience – from owners to journalists, breeders to racecourse officials, trainers to stable staff – has never been greater. No-one is more important than anyone else; we’re all in it together.

of shops will merely accelerate the rapid decline that has followed the punitive FOBTs staking decision. The argument used to defend betting shops against the venom of High Street puritans who would turn every other premises into a vegan outpost or handicraft emporium – namely that they offer an important social hub – could have been tested to destruction during the lockdown. The theory will come under scrutiny when the government gets round to the promised review of the 2005 Gambling Act, during which the Levy Board’s response will be co-ordinated by a new Chairman in Paul Darling, who has the benefit of certainty that neither of his predecessors, Rob Hughes and Paul Lee, enjoyed during their record-breaking 11-year stints. Darling probably has time on his side, judged by his own appointment process, which was launched last August, with the intention of carrying out the final interview on November 4 and making the announcement on April 1. The government got there by the skin of its teeth, with Darling, a government-appointed member of the board from 2008-14, getting the nod. It remains a mystery why the process took eight months to complete, when the answer was staring the adjudicating panel in the face from the outset.

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28/04/2020 09:56


Racing Life

edited by Sarah Rodrigues

CREATIVE CAMPAIGNING Covid-19 has seen more people within racing than ever contact Racing Welfare for support – it’s also meant that the charity has had to get creative with how it communicates and raises funds The suspension of racing has led to a huge rise in demand for Racing Welfare’s services

W

hen the curtain fell on British racing soon after the close of March’s Cheltenham Festival, it was hoped that the suspension of the sport would be short-lived. Now, with the British Horseracing Authority’s mid-April announcement that restrictions on racing are to be extended indefinitely, these hopes are fading rapidly. For the average racegoer, this means disappointment: the cancellation of plans with friends, the loss of an opportunity to dress up, to place a bet, to have a day out. For the industry, and for those who work within it, the implications are far greater. As the only charity that supports all people involved in racing, from stud, stable and racecourse staff to those working in associated professions, from recruitment through to retirement, Racing Welfare has, understandably, seen a huge increase in demand for their services. As Racing Welfare’s CEO, Dawn Goodfellow, points out: “Although racing is a multi-billion-pound industry, it is largely made up of hundreds of small businesses whose lifeblood has been taken away with Covid-19 lockdown measures and the temporary cancellation of racing. This has put at risk the jobs of thousands of people, all of whom are entitled to Racing Welfare’s services.” Yet this comes, of course, at a time when the charity’s ability to successfully fundraise has also been impacted. With gatherings and events cancelled for the foreseeable future, and no certainty as to when these may be rescheduled, the charity looks likely to lose fundraising

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income in the region of £500,000 over the course of 2020. Not that this has dampened their enthusiasm or creativity: the charity has, for instance, launched the Racing Welfare Emergency Covid-19 Appeal (details opposite*) and kickstarted a series of socially distant events, beginning with The Furlong Factor, a singing contest organised in conjunction with Great British Racing (GBR), the Tote and Sky Sports. “In addition to raising much-needed funds, it is hoped that this event, and others like it, will bring a smile to people’s faces and give a lift at a difficult time,” says Goodfellow. The measure of how difficult a time it is for so many may be seen in the surge in demand for Racing Welfare’s services. Between March 17 and April 7 the charity supported a total of 551 individuals with Covid-19 related issues. “We believe this increase is the calm before the storm

and that the number of people turning to Racing Welfare for help is likely to grow exponentially the longer the current crisis continues,” says Goodfellow. Government restrictions on interaction have also meant that the charity has had to find new ways of practically providing support to those who need it. As Simone Sear, Director of Welfare, commented: “We have had to stop all yard, racecourse and stud visits, so we’ve formed a team to look at how we can stay connected with our community and keep that conversation going. “We’re still calling yards to check they’re okay and maximising our telephone befriending service. If we call someone and they’re in trouble, it’s about us knowing how we can help them and get support to them.” Given that Racing Welfare also actively support those retired from racing, the restrictions on gatherings have had a major impact on the organisation of social events and outings to help prevent social isolation – so the team, assisted by some volunteers, have been phoning retired beneficiaries to check in with them and to provide a welcome friendly voice at the other end of the line. Through social media, the charity is also holding weekly ‘Virtual Coffee Mornings’ as a way to connect; the first of these was hosted by Derek Thompson, with a different racing celebrity set to host each week. The charity’s first Covid-19 hardship grant was provided on March 25; since then, the process by which those in

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Racing Welfare

need can access emergency funds has been streamlined and simplified to make access to help as simple, efficient and undaunting as possible for those who work in the British horseracing and breeding industry, and who are in immediate financial need due to the outbreak. Racing Welfare’s existing grant application process remains in place to provide additional financial assistance if required. “We have also altered our verification process to facilitate the processing of grants being done remotely yet still securely, all of which is set up to get support to those who need it most, as rapidly as we can,” says Goodfellow. Nevertheless, she adds: “We recognise that the situation is affecting the lives of people living and working in racing in many different ways, with immediate financial need being just one of these. “We are focusing our response on three main strands of work: the provision of hardship grants; the publication of reliable advice and guidance in relation to the outbreak and its impact; and community support services to prevent

loneliness and isolation during this time. The crisis is generating a lot of complex needs – so our services are designed to support people who require support on multiple fronts.” An example of one such front? Through phonecall check-ins, contact with a pensioner who was living in isolation and had no contact with family led to a welfare officer discovering that not only had this person not spoken to anyone for days, but that their fridge freezer had stopped working two weeks previously and they had been unable to store any fresh food. Thanks to this

interaction, Racing Welfare was able to organise the delivery of a new appliance within 24 hours. The British Horseracing Authority’s Executive Director, Will Lambe, has praised the broad scope of activity managed by Racing Welfare, which “has become all the more vital in recent weeks.” He continues: “They have acted swiftly from the onset of this crisis. “Their connection with racing communities is one of their strengths, but they exist for anyone who works within the industry, or has previously done so, including close dependents.”

*The first donation to the Racing Welfare Emergency Covid-19 Appeal was £50,000 from a prominent industry figure, who wishes to remain anonymous. You can support Racing Welfare at justgiving.com/campaign/ RWEmergencyAppeal and sharing the page with friends and family. Racing’s Support Line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 6300 443. Alternatively, a 24hr live chat service is available via the charity’s website racingwelfare.co.uk

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Economy & bloodstock

Into the

UNKNOWN As world markets react to Covid-19 and businesses across the globe feel the chill wind of trade restrictions, the bloodstock community is facing up to an uncertain future Words: Philip Freedman • Photos: George Selwyn

A

side from the human cost of the coronavirus outbreak, the bloodstock industry will be considering the possible effect on its market as a consequence of the collapse in financial markets together with the government’s imposed lockdown, which means that there is at present no racing. When the sport resumes, it is likely to take place behind closed doors. While no one currently active in the bloodstock industry will know about the Great Depression of the 1930s other than through the history books, the market declines of 1974, 1987, 1992, 2000 and 2008 will all have been experienced by at least some of those involved today. While they may all have had similarities, in that either the bloodstock market or financial markets experienced dramatic falls, there are also significant differences between them. There are those that were essentially financial markets responding to declines in the real economy (the oil price shock of 1974 and the banking crisis

xxxxxxx

of 2008), declines in financial markets reflecting what Alan Greenspan referred to as “irrational exuberance” (Black Monday in 1987 and the bursting of the Dot Com Bubble in 2000) and the purely bloodstock market crash in 1991, which followed the Maktoum family’s withdrawal from the yearling market in response to the British government’s failure to address the VAT issue (which was very promptly resolved thereafter). As Peter Willett wrote in the book The History of Tattersalls: “Most setbacks to bloodstock prices arise from events extraneous to the industry.” In 1974, the FT Index fell from a high of 550 to a low of 150-, in part reflecting the particularly difficult circumstances in Britain with the miners’ strike, three-day week and a change of government all adversely impacting sentiment. The loss of 73% of the value of the London market compared unfavourably with that of New York, which declined by 45%. This was rather more dramatic than anything seen in the current crisis, to date at least, and reflected a 2.1%

“Most setbacks to bloodstock prices arise from events extraneous to the industry”

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A packed house at Tattersalls as the bidding heads past the millionguinea mark – but will such scenes be repeated at this autumn’s yearling sales?

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Economy & bloodstock

›› contraction in US GDP (forecasts for

2020 are of a contraction of up to 30%) and jump in inflation to 12%. However, putting the prospective decline in GDP of the major Western economies into a historical perspective, a 30% decline in one year would mirror what it took those economies three years to lose in the Great Depression of 1929. At that time, the Wall Street Crash saw the stock market lose 89% of its value in three years, and prices only recovered to their 1929 level in 1954. While the last month has witnessed two of the largest one-day rallies on the Dow Jones in the last century, the fact that the other moves of a similar magnitude occurred in 2008, and between 1929 and 1933, should temper optimism about the prospects for a rapid recovery in financial markets. It remains to be seen if the intervention by governments and central banks to mitigate the worst economic effects of the current lockdown succeeds to the extent that the decline in world markets is limited to a drop of 34% in the USA and 37% in Britain. While the respective recoveries of over 50% of the US decline, leaving it 17% below its January peak, and 37% in Britain, leaving an overall drop of

20

23%, are to be welcomed, the experience of previous bear markets would suggest that these rallies do not last and that either a lower low, or at the very least a retest of the previous low, will be needed before a floor is finally established, as was the case in both 1987 and 2008.

Fall and rise

In 1974 Tattersalls’ turnover fell by 33%, while the average at the October yearling sales fell by 41% and the median by 50%. Prices began to recover in 1975, and in 1977 turnover exceeded that seen in 1973, although it should be remembered that the 1973/4 crisis was, on an international level, a response to the quadrupling of the oil price, which has in turn played its part in funding the massive investment in bloodstock from the Middle East, without which the

industry would look very different today. The experience of 2008 will be remembered by all those who tried to sell yearlings that autumn. Lehman Brothers, whose collapse came during the Keeneland September Sale, was the final domino to fall in bringing about fears of widespread banking failure. From a high of 1570 on the S&P Index in October 2007, the market declined to 1288 by the beginning of September 2008, a decline of 18%. Between September and December that year, the market

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dropped a further 40%, at which point it had lost 50% of its value in 14 months. In Britain, the initial decline of 16% was followed by a further 35% between September and November, a total drop of 45%. During the October yearling sales there was a real fear that one, or more, of the major British high-street banks might fail, leading to the UK government announcing a £500 billion rescue package on October 8. Vendors with televisions in their entertainment boxes kept them fixed on the racing channels and Tattersalls’ own feed, fearing that should prospective purchasers see the news the last thing they would want to do was buy a yearling. To a degree they were successful – the average fell by 5% at Book 1 and the median rose slightly – whereas only a week later during Book 2 the average fell by 24% and the median by 18%. Looking at the wider market in 2008, the Arqana August and Doncaster St Leger Sales preceded the worst of the stock market turmoil. Nevertheless, taking the prices of the 1,000 most expensive yearlings sold in Europe that year as the benchmark, prices fell on average by 10% from £137,500 to £123,000, were flat in 2009,

fell another 10% in 2010 and only began recovering in 2011, exceeding the 2007 level in 2012. Looking more closely within the market, the 200 most expensive yearlings saw a comparable decline in price from 2007 to 2010, but enjoyed a much more pronounced recovery thereafter. As a result, by 2012 they were 10% above their 2007 level, whereas the average of the 201-500 and 501-1000 bands were still 5% below the figure they achieved in 2007.

Higher stallion fees

Of course, yearling prices are only part of the equation as to breeders’ profitability, with stallion fees being the other half of that equation. One of the issues currently facing breeders is that each year they have been paying higher stallion fees. Therefore, to achieve the same level of profitability in 2020 as they experienced in 2019, they need yearling prices to go up by around 17% to reflect the increase in stallion fees between 2017 and 2018, when the current crop of yearlings was conceived. To assess breeders’ profitability, in relative if not absolute terms, the charts above show the average yearling price of the top 500 yearlings sold in Europe

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››

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Economy & bloodstock ››

going back to 1997, and the average price of using the 25 most expensive stallions standing in Europe in each of those years. The last chart, below, shows the yearling price divided by the nomination fee charged two years earlier to give an indication of whether or not yearling prices have been keeping pace with stallion fees over the period. So much for where we have been – where might we be going? If one was to assume that in a worst case scenario 2020 yearling prices were to drop by 40% and then stabilise at that lower level, then the ratio of yearling fee divided by nomination fee would drop to 1.63 in 2020, 1.5 in 2021 and 1.44 in 2022. This contrasts with a range of 2.21 (the previous low coming in 2010) and 4.31 in 2000. During the previous downturn in 2008-09, the combined British and Irish foal crops contracted markedly and in this instance another decline in the foal crop could be expected. The size of that drop is hard to predict. For instance, between 2008 and 2012 the number of foals born in Britain and Ireland respectively fell by 26% and 39%. However, the Irish drop on that occasion was also a reflection of both the growth in production fuelled by the boom in Ireland pre-2008 and the

22

resulting overproduction. Nevertheless, an economic shock of the size currently being felt could be expected to lead to a significant overall decline in the foal crop. It is likely to begin as early as 2021; while breeders have signed contracts to have their mares covered in 2020, the contractual obligation is to have them covered three times.

Vested interests

One group with a vested interest in protecting the value of the bloodstock market is the stallion owners. An estimate of the stallion income earned by Godolphin (including stallions managed by the operation but not owned outright), Juddmonte Farms and Coolmore would suggest that the total value of their annual covering fee income (including their own mares and foal shares) is in the region of £200 million. The aggregate value of the Arqana August, Goffs Orby and Doncaster Premier Sales and Book 1 and 2 of Tattersalls’ October Sale was approximately £250 million in 2019, and is likely to be less in 2020. While it may not make financial sense to protect the value of the majority of the stallions on their rosters, given that

of this £200 million around half can be attributed to four stallions, protecting the progeny of that powerful quartet in the sale ring is a more viable strategy. Without any such support of the market, the stallion owners – who through their substantial ownership of horses in training are also the owners most likely to be unearthing the stallions of the future – may find themselves locked into a vicious spiral of decline; as yearling prices fall so does their stallion income, reducing the potential value of the next generation of stallions and leading to further falls in yearling prices and stallion income until the cycle can be broken. The assumption underlying these forecasts is that racing resumes, albeit behind closed doors, at some point in the summer, and that the yearling sales are able to take place in the autumn. On that basis, one would expect to see a contraction in the industry, at least comparable to the previous downturns from which the industry has recovered to previous levels after a relatively brief period, usually around four to five years. However, if either of these assumptions proves incorrect, more fundamental questions will need to be asked about the future of commercial breeding in Europe.

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Studs during Covid-19

Open for

BUSINESS The racecourses may be silent while Britain continues under lockdown but the nation’s studs are continuing to operate under strict protocols Words: Nancy Sexton

The cogs of the British breeding industry are continuing to turn during the Covid-19 pandemic by adhering to regulations implemented by the TBA

B

ritain might be paralysed by Covid-19 but for thoroughbred studs up and down the country, life goes on. The care of livestock does not bend to restrictions; it is seven days a week and for many people a way of life, not a job. In response to the UK lockdown brought into force by the government on March 23, which required all but essential workers to stay at home and the closure of some shops and public events, the TBA released a set of protocols for breeders that allowed for the continuation of the necessary travel and activities for thoroughbred breeding operations. “Through full and strict adherence to the protocols,” the TBA wrote, “the British thoroughbred breeding industry is able to demonstrate it can responsibly comply with the current government advice.” In it, the TBA stressed the importance of hygiene and social distancing. Guidelines for walking in mares for covering and transporting stock were also set. The vast majority of stallion studs in Britain and Ireland have remained open throughout the spring for covering bar the odd example, none of which shut their doors for an extended period of time. In the case of the National Stud in Newmarket, the current situation has actually

“xxxx xxx Xx xx xxx”

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all the TBA recommendations and protocols to the letter,” says Chris Richardson, Managing Director of Cheveley Park Stud. “We must pay credit to the TBA in all this; they’ve done a fantastic job. “We have 150 mares on the place and we’re fortunate that our regular vet is

“We’re up on 2019 boarding numbers and almost at full capacity” able to attend on a daily basis. Eightyone of our mares have foaled and now we’re waiting on another nine [at the time of writing] – I have to say I’m glad it’s not the other way around. “We’re obviously lucky that we have our own stallions that we can use. But we do like to support outside stallions as well. Fortunately, the majority of those mares down to go to stallions in either Ireland or France foaled earlier on and have come back. “Now if we can get to May 1 and we’re still covering, then I think we’ve done very well. It will

certainly help us save the crop of 2021.” Vet work is obviously key to the smooth running of any stud and in that respect, Ed Harper, Stud Director of Whitsbury Manor Stud in Hampshire, was quick to pay tribute to the role played by its resident vet Charlie Pinkham. With four stallions on its books, namely Showcasing, Havana Grey, Due Diligence and Adaay, and a large broodmare band, the stud is coming to the end of a typically busy spring. “We’re lucky in that we have Charlie Pinkham on site,” says Harper. “Since the lockdown, he’s been working at Whitsbury only – Charlie has been important in our growth and now our continuation during lockdown, and we’re lucky in that we can give him enough business while the other vets at Pinkham Equine do outside work. “Our stud secretary Carole Steele has also done a great job of keeping the show on the road – she’s basically isolating in the office.” TBA protocols stipulate that all “associated paperwork must be completed and sent electronically in advance”, and that the unloading and re-loading of the horse at its destination “must be conducted by the staff at the destination”, removing the

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GEORGE SELWYN

contributed to an increase in demand for their services. The National Stud was already preparing itself for a busier season prior to the outbreak thanks to the arrival of two new stallions in Advertise, last year’s Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest winner, and Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour to complement their other young residents Aclaim, Rajasinghe and Time Test. “Last year we were up about 33% in boarding numbers and right now we’re up on that again,” says Stud Director Tim Lane. “We’re almost at full capacity. “We’re certainly covering more mares this year. But I also think some of it comes down to the fact that a few of the vets around the country might not be doing so much outside work. “Our spelling side is also up. We started to get a few more come in from the trainers when the government made the lockdown announcement – it’s understandable that owners and trainers are wanting to spell more horses with all the uncertainty around everything at the moment.” On the other side of Newmarket, David and Patricia Thompson’s Cheveley Park Stud is in the midst of another busy foaling season as their team manages the books of its resident public stallions Pivotal, Ulysses, Twilight Son and Mayson. “It’s business as normal although obviously we’ve been following

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TATTERSALLS

Studs during Covid-19

Ed Harper: protocols “working well”

›› need for contact between any staff.

“We leave the foals on the box, take the mare and we’re lucky in that the four stallions we have are quick coverers in the shed,” says Harper. “It’s working well in that regard. “Obviously with this being a global pandemic, it’s on the news every second of the day, so everyone is on board.” Similarly at Cheveley Park Stud, working through the breeding season in accordance with the current guidelines has also been a smooth process.

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“We take the mares and foals off the box ourselves and load them back up ourselves,” says Richardson. “Obviously the most important thing is to place people at minimal risk. I have to say that the staff have been fantastic, they’ve all rallied round and are adhering to the recommendations. “We have 24 staff houses split across the studs and that’s also been a huge help. And the office is being run on a parttime basis – there is one person in at a time.” With the majority of nominations signed by breeders prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the fallout of the pandemic sadly won’t be fully felt by the British stallion industry until later in the year and beyond. “So far we have only lost a handful of mares from our stallions,” says Harper. “Showcasing lost a few coming in from France, which is understandable.” However, the ramifications of no racing in Britain or Ireland is already being felt by those stallion masters behind a horse with its first runners. We all know examples of young stallions who gained an extra clutch of mares off the back of early spring two-year-old success; those sharp types will get their chance when racing resumes but the likelihood is that they will now have to compete against the more expensive, summer type of two-year-old. “I remember Showcasing’s first winner arrived in early April that season and then several days later, Cappella Sansevero won easily on his debut at Dundalk,” says Harper. “I think we booked an extra 45 mares that year in May to him off the back of those early winners. And it was not just us who benefitted but the breeders who had supported him, too.” Both Whitsbury Manor and Cheveley Park Stud currently share that frustration as they await the first runners by their residents Adaay and Twilight Son; Adaay, who stands at Whitsbury Manor Stud in partnership with Shadwell, was an expensive breezer who won the Sandy Lane and Hungerford Stakes at three while Twilight Son developed into a Group 1-winning sprinter and now bids to enhance the legacy of Pivotal and his sire Kyllachy at Cheveley Park Stud. However, frustrations aside, all things as ever must be kept in perspective. “Obviously we’re all hoping that racing will proceed at some point, and then it will probably be behind closed doors,” said Richardson. “But it’s got to be at the right time for the country and the right time for the world.” • For the latest guidance and advice specific to the thoroughbred breeding industry relating to Covid-19, please see TBA Forum, pages 56-57.

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National Stud Diploma Course in full swing

Tim Lane: praises the diligence of this year’s National Stud Diploma Course students

TATTERSALLS

A key element to the National Stud has long been its use as an educational facility, and thankfully its role in that regard remains uninterrupted this spring despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The National Stud Diploma Course, which runs from January to June each year, covers all aspects of stud work and has provided the grounding for a number of key industry figures over its lengthy history. The current intake of students have just over two months left to go this year and although various adjustments have been forced upon some areas of the course, such as the popular lecture programme, they will still graduate in the summer with the experience of a normal stud season under their belt. “I have to say the students are an amazing bunch,” says Stud Director Tim Lane. “As soon as this all broke out, we said to them they could go home and self isolate, although obviously then they couldn’t come back. But they all wanted to stay. “They’ve been great. They’re a really enthusiastic group of people and they’ve worked around everything great – they’re adhering to social distancing rules, they’re not going out and are working hard. “We’re managing to do the lecture programme via Skype. I just personally hope that for the last six weeks of the course we can get them out to visit different places and get them meeting people.” Once the diploma students have passed through the stud, attention turns to the TBA Entry to Stud Employment Programme (E2SE), a course fully funded by the TBA aimed at mature students. Launched in 2018, it comprises a residential programme at the National Stud before a six-to-nine month period of paid stud work elsewhere. The E2SE has become increasingly popular and at the moment, it is all systems go for this year’s programme. “We’re just interviewing people for the E2SE now,” says Lane. “It’s actually oversubscribed this year, which is great.”

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Owners in lockdown Alan Spence’s Positive (right), entered in the 2,000 Guineas, gets the better of Qatar Racing’s Kameko in the 2019 Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown

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Positive

ATTITUDE No racing means no chance of recouping costs for Britain’s racehorse owners – collective hope of a not-too-distant resumption seems the best policy in the current climate

››

GEORGE SELWYN

Words: Graham Dench

W

ith racing shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and no date as yet set for resumption, it’s a challenging time for the owners of the thousands of thoroughbreds in training in Britain, which must still be fed, exercised, and cared for despite the lack of competitive action. Figures released by the British Horseracing Authority suggest that the number of Flat horses in training has fallen by around 13% year-on-year, from 10,810 to 9,443 (April 1 data), while the jumping programme has been put on hold until July 1. Owners, many of whom are seeing their own businesses in other sectors being severely impacted by Covid-19, are facing the reality of literally not getting a run for their money. We speak to six owners involved at different levels of the sport to find out how they have been managing their bloodstock interests during lockdown.

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Owners in lockdown

David Armstrong: sitting tight

›› DAVID ARMSTRONG

David Armstrong’s vivid red silks will be familiar to all who enjoy sprinters thanks to the exploits of July Cup winner Mayson and Prix de l’Abbaye heroine Mabs Cross, both of whom were bred on the family’s Highfield Farm Stud in Lancashire. He has 13 horses in training across seven trainers, two of whom are training for him for the first time, plus another 12 in pre-training, and he has around 30 mares on the stud, although not Mabs Cross, who has been sold privately to Qatar Racing and is now at Tweenhills Farm and Stud. A handful were due to go back into training after being covered, but that plan will almost certainly be shelved now.  With his dedicated staff observing strict social distancing rules, the dayto-day running of the stud has so far been largely unaffected, and to his surprise three mares sent to be covered by Birchwood in France have all been allowed to travel home. However, plans to sell yearlings for the first time later this year are now on hold. His quarrying business is “nearly 90 per cent shut”, with one of the first customers to cancel being the iconic Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the completion of which was at last in sight but the funding for which depends largely on tourism. Armstrong refuses to feel sorry for himself, but of course he has concerns.  He says: “It’s messing plans up, but we’ve got to keep things in perspective. I don’t like to say it, but while people are dying every day, horseracing is immaterial, so long as the horses themselves are being looked after. It’s unbelievable what nurses and care workers and so on are all doing for us, putting their own lives at risk.” He adds: “We breed to sell, but we usually like to race them first to

enhance their value. We can’t race of course at the moment, and I’ve decided not to have all of the mares covered this time. This year we were planning to sell some yearlings for the first time, but I think we are in for a rough ride at the sales. “I’m anything but upbeat, and the longer racing is closed the worse it will be, but I think some of the talk of racing behind closed doors is premature. The main thing in the racing world is that the horses aren’t suffering, and while so many people are dying we should sit tight and not complain.”

LAURENCE BELLMAN

Laurence Bellman has had 85 winners in his own silks since 2011, plus others in partnership. Teodoro, who he owned in partnership, was a Group 3 winner, but the majority have operated closer to the bread and butter level, often on the all-weather. They cost just as much to keep, however, and the expense adds up. Bellman would reckon to go racing around 100 times a year under normal circumstances, so it’s a massive part of his life, but under current restrictions he is confined to his London home owing to underlying issues. He says: “I’ve got a nice house and a garden, so it could be a lot worse, but I’m really missing racing – both going to the track and going to the stables. I’ve got 24 horses in training and I own most of them outright, so that’s a lot of expense every month. “The good news is that I’ve paid a lot of my trainers in advance up until around November, and for that I get a small discount. I also breed on a very small scale, with two mares at the

“It’s messing plans up but we have got to keep things in perspective” Trinity Park Stud who are both due to foal shortly.” Racing, he says, “is more than a hobby now, it’s a passion”, and in the current climate he admits he might have gone in too hard. He explains: “I’m feeling it now, as these horses all have to be looked after, fed and exercised even when they aren’t racing. Just because I could afford it doesn’t mean I’m not affected, and although I’m semi-retired I’m still in the property business, and that’s obviously being impacted.” Last year, Bellman bought eight yearlings – now two-year-olds and unraced of course – but he is far from certain to be so involved at the sales again this autumn. He adds: “I don’t expect to be buying again this time, but who knows. It will all depend upon what the economic climate is in the autumn.” In the meantime good communication from trainers is more important than ever, and some, he says, are better than others when it comes to videos and photographs and so on. However, even the least tech savvy of them is getting better all the time. They have to.

Laurence Bellman says he is unlikely to be buying at the autumn sales

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Gail Brown’s many years managing the Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group (GROG) and a decade as the principal of her own syndicates give her another perspective upon how the pandemic is impacting owners and what can be done to offset the lack of live action. GROG has two horses with William Knight, with around 150 members in each syndicate, some of whom are in both. Gail Brown Racing has six horses this year, all of them with David Menuisier, and each has around a dozen owners. Keeping everyone informed and enthused, while at the same time managing expectations, is more vital than ever. She says: “I’ve already had to cancel three stable visits, and the one for GROG is a particularly big day, with breakfast on the gallops for around 200. We’ll make up for it when we can but for the time being I’m relying on the trainers for more video footage and day-to-day reports than I would normally. 

Gail Brown: robust budget in place

“David has a new person doing his website, which has been a big help, and he has taken a small cut in fees, which are now invoiced as ‘emergency training fees’. It’s a gesture that’s much appreciated, and when racing resumes they will go back up again, which is fair enough.” Many syndicate managers may be starting to worry that members will drift away, either because they simply can no longer afford to continue, or else because they feel they are not

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JOHN GROSSICK

GAIL BROWN

Yvonne Jacques, pictured with her classy mare Klassique, has invested heavily in bloodstock

getting any return on their investment. However, that is not an immediate concern for Brown. She says: “It will be interesting to know how other syndicates are managing, because a lot are set up with a down payment followed by a monthly payment, so they do rely upon members coming up trumps every month. “My Goodwood syndicates all pay up front and we have a robust budget covering two years, at the end of which there is a nice payout. The Gail Brown Racing syndicates require a heftier investment because of the smaller numbers, but I still ask for everything up front. I don’t want to leave myself, or my trainer, in a situation whereby people could default, and again, the budget is set and there’s a nice dividend at the end. “There’s a concern still that people will become disillusioned if racing doesn’t return soon, but we all know where we are, and why. Some might not return, but I’m not convinced about that as they’ve been denied other pleasures and will want something to look forward to.” Knight is on the move, from West Sussex to Newmarket, but GROG is sticking with him. She adds: “We like to keep our horses in the south and run them in the south, but it’s a bold move for William and we will stick with him for the year and hope that Newmarket might be one of the hubs being talked about for when racing resumes.”

YVONNE JACQUES

Yvonne Jacques tasted success at the very highest level as a member of the Highclere Racing syndicate which raced King George winner Harbinger. She has since enjoyed many wins with runners in her own colours, among them dual Grade 2 winner Grandeur, who won the Easter Classic at Lingfield in 2014, and last year’s Haydock Group 3 scorer Klassique. Her involvement in the sport took on another dimension when she completed on Lady Whent’s Raffin Stud three years ago, and she now has 21 mares on the renamed Carisbrooke Stud, with coverings this year by some of the world’s most expensive stallions, including Frankel, Kingman and Kodiac, plus first-season sires like Blue Point. While conscious that millions are suffering far more than those of us in racing’s bubble, her personal investment in the sport is massive and so she is understandably anxious about the future. She says: “I’m lucky to live on a beautiful stud, with lots of space, and I can’t imagine how difficult it is for people living in apartments in cities with children and no gardens.” Jacques continues: “For me, there’s the day-to-day impact on the stud obviously, and an even bigger impact on the racing side. “Most of my people live on the stud, but those who come in from outside are subject to a lot more checks, disinfecting and isolation and so on. It’s not overwhelming though in comparison to what some people are suffering. Our

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Owners in lockdown ›› issues are more with what is going to

Alan Spence: racing has a fitness advantage

conventional sense, but he is involved both as an owner and as a breeder. He has 16 horses in training with Simon Dow in Epsom this year and three mares down the road from there at Woodcote Stud. He says: “I love my horses and normally I would love visiting them every Sunday and seeing them race, but I’m not one who would go racing if I didn’t have a runner. I’m missing seeing them, but Simon sends me videos every day.” Moss’s monthly outlay is substantial, and although he had a good payday when Mr Scaramanga won a Group 2 in Qatar in 2017, there has been zero return since his two all-weather wins before lockdown. His electrical wholesaling business has remained open through the pandemic, but he admits that it might get difficult if the current scenario continues for much longer. He explains: “We are trading, because we supply quite a lot of products to the health service through electrical contractors and construction, but business has been impacted quite badly nevertheless and commercially my spending on the horses is just money out the window. “I’m spending between £15,000 and £20,000 a month just on maintaining them, and with no income at all it’s a dire situation financially. Fortunately I can just about make it, but I’m getting close to the bone and the cost is impacting quite significantly now. “Hopefully we’ll survive though and when we get through this I’ve got a few good ones to look forward to.”

ROBERT MOSS

Businessman Robert Moss was a relative latecomer to racehorse ownership and says he is not a racing fan in the

DUBAI RACING CLUB

ALAN SPENCE

Robert Moss: misses seeing his horses

GEORGE SELWYN

“I think racing is ready and willing to start as soon as we are allowed to”

happen in the future. “Not having any racing has a mega impact. The younger horses are missing out on getting experience, and my older ones include Stylistique, who was second in the Rockfel and who we hoped might run in the Guineas. We don’t know if that’s going to happen now and that of course has a great impact on future breeding lines.” She adds: “I get very involved normally and one of the pleasures is going to see my horses in training, but now of course I can’t. Most of them are in Newmarket, and I can’t even see those who are in pre-training just up the road with Malcolm Bastard.” While it’s the current lack of racing that is having the biggest impact, Jacques is understandably concerned by how the economic climate might look once we are out of the pandemic. She explains: “I made a big investment in the stud itself, and all of the infrastructure, and I’m investing heavily in the coverings. “I’m not dabbling at it and I’m trying to compete at the top level in my small way, but I don’t know whether there will be a market for my yearlings in the autumn or for the foals that are being conceived now. It’s already impacting those involved in the breeze-up sales and it’s a big worry for people at every level. “We mustn’t be too sorry for ourselves when the situation is so much worse for so many, but let’s hope we get racing back as soon as it’s safe, even if it’s behind closed doors.”

Alan Spence is no different from any other owner in that he can not wait for racing to resume, and with a live QIPCO 2,000 Guineas contender in Solario Stakes winner Positive, it’s no wonder his itch is felt particularly intensely. However, whereas most are cautious about the timing of resumption and fear racing jumping the gun after the adverse reaction to allowing the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead, Spence argues that

racing should be the first major sport out of the blocks. An owner for the best part of 50 years and an ROA board member, Spence has enjoyed top-level success with Jukebox Jury and Profitable and is a keen follower of a broad range of sports. He is a Vice-President of Chelsea FC and points out that whereas in football and most other major sports the participants will need weeks to get match fit, racing is ready to go. It has also been proven to work well behind closed doors in other jurisdictions. He said: “I think racing is ready and willing to start as soon as we are allowed to, behind closed doors at tracks like Newcastle and Lingfield to begin with, where staff can stay on site on the course. “Horses and jockeys are ready to go and we are the one sport in which the participants are fit. They have to start with something, and human athletes won’t be match fit. “They haven’t stopped racing in Hong Kong or Australia and they are still racing in some states in America. There’s nothing else going on in those countries, and the government should see that.” Spence has ten horses in training on the Flat to run solely in his own name, plus another seven in partnership, as well as out of training jumpers currently with Tim McCarthy in Godstone. He also breeds on a small scale, with a foal and a yearling by Dubawi out of his Group-winning sprinter Priceless, as well as mares covered by Profitable, in whom he retains breeding rights. It’s a very expensive hobby, particularly in lockdown, and the one saving grace is that he is completely retired from the corporate travel business in which he made his money. He said: “For the last 15 years my business was entirely corporate travel. “We survived the Gulf War but this will be worse. It will be six months or more before people even start thinking of travelling to America or the Far East again.”

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Trainers in focus

Moving

TARGET

The sport’s shutdown has presented a number of problems for Britain’s racehorse trainers as they try to maintain their businesses while preparing horses for an unspecified return to action Words: Edward Rosenthal • Photos: George Selwyn

“L

ife goes on but not quite in the same way,” says Chris Wall, who trains 40 racehorses from his Induna Stables on Newmarket’s Fordham Road. Like his colleagues in the town and around Britain who were building up to the start of the Flat turf season, Wall found the rug pulled from under his feet when racing was halted in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Race meetings may be off the agenda, for the time being at least, yet the thoroughbreds in the trainer’s care require feeding and exercise as they would in any other season, with staff members having to adhere to new health and safety protocols. “The government recognised that we have to look after the horses so my staff are still coming to work,” Wall says. “I have 12 full-time employees and three

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part-time. I haven’t had to furlough anyone because we haven’t lost any horses. “We have 40 horses in training and I think the owners are hoping that a resumption isn’t too far away. But the longer it goes on without racing, the more chance some will say it’s wasting money and could ask to give the horses a break. “If we do lose horses then that will lead to people being furloughed or even laid off if it’s a longer term thing.” The government has introduced a number of initiatives to help the many UK businesses that have been affected by the lockdown. Trainers, denied the opportunity to earn prize-money on the track, have been accessing different forms of assistance. “We were able to defer payment of our business rates, which is a big

help as the cost has gone up considerably in the past few years. That helps a lot with the cash flow in a small business,” Wall says. “While we have horses here and they are being paid for then the basis of the business is fine. We have all our costs to pay, though some things are less, such as transport and blacksmith fees, as the horses don’t need racing plates.” He continues: “Like a lot of trainers we’re making sure that owners aren’t overburdened with costs. We were planning to put rates

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Chris Wall has kept on all his staff while his owners retain faith that a resumption of racing is not too far away

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Trainers in focus ›› up but we’ve held them down. We’re

trying to help as best we can. “I think if we’re not racing by the end of May then it will start to become serious because at that point owners will say it’s getting silly. That’s when we’ll have to re-evaluate what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.” Wall, who has trained at Induna Stables since 1992, sent out 25 winners in 2019, at a strike-rate of 18% – better than in all of his previous years with a licence. He is continuing to build up his string without pushing any buttons. He explains: “We were starting to crank things up for the start of the season so the first thing we had to do was unwind our horses – you can’t keep getting them race-fit if you’re not going to race them – and go back to getting them ticking over. “Our horses canter every day. When you have a race in mind you build them up with sharper canters and gallops – so we’re not doing that. The idea is to have them three-parts fit, so when we know the restart date, hopefully with three or four weeks’ notice, they are only two or three bits of work off being ready to run. “This is a strange situation because you’re floating along and don’t know when the sport will start again. We have the horses to look after and take each day as it comes. “You need to keep your staff motivated, healthy and happy, and ensure all the right measures are taken around social distancing, hygiene and hand-washing.” With all sport in Britain forced into hibernation, Wall has his own view on when racing should resume, one influenced by the widespread criticism towards the Cheltenham Festival’s staging in March. He says: “Much as I would like to restart racing as early as we can, I don’t think we should contemplate resuming until it looks as though they will start playing football again. We would be shooting ourselves in the foot to go it alone. “It was the right thing to do to hold Cheltenham – all the right questions had been asked and answered – but subsequently it’s been a bit of a PR setback for racing. Starting up on our own would add to that and not put us in a good light with the general public at a time when we need as much help as we can get.” Over a month of the Flat turf season has already been lost, the first four Classics have been pushed back in the calendar, and exactly what the fixture list

spectators, as has been mooted by the track’s management. He says: “We have a precedent for Classics being moved during wartime but I don’t see why you can’t run the Guineas races at the July meeting and stage the Derby at Epsom in August, with the St Leger in its traditional slot at Doncaster. “We all love the Royal Meeting and everyone wants a winner there but what’s the point of Royal Ascot without a crowd? “I think there are only three races there, including the Gold Cup, that aren’t replicated in the rest of the calendar. In the overall scheme of things, the vast majority of Royal Ascot races are not essential to the Pattern.”

‘Hats off if Royal Ascot is saved’ Lucinda Russell, pictured with partner Peter Scudamore, has furloughed 20 employees

and race programme will look like when racing does resume is open to question. A reduced programme staged behind closed doors without spectators is the likelihood when horses get back on a racecourse, potentially with a regional system in operation, whereby horses are restricted to racing at a small number of tracks in their part of the country. “I saw an outline of a plan for quarantined racing but I didn’t like the look of it,” Wall explains. “It looked like racing for the sake of it, with a single track in the north and south, and would only benefit one racecourse group and the bookmakers. “I think we will need to start with regionalised racing but you could have three or four tracks in each region – Newmarket, Yarmouth and Chelmsford for example – that could race a couple of days each week and benefit us all. That would give everybody something to look forward to. “We need an even amount of opportunities across the spectrum. I think we should start with a blank sheet and the courses will have to buy into that idea. “If we’re not racing until June, you won’t get eight runs into a horse this year but you might get five. At least it’s meaningful. Then at least owners won’t feel like they have been cheated out of an opportunity.” Wall believes it’s important to “think of the British bloodstock product” and protect the Classic programme, but isn’t keen to see Flat racing’s biggest meeting, Royal Ascot, go ahead without

Richard Fahey is hoping that Royal Ascot does go ahead. His powerhouse Musley Bank stable supplied 178 winners last year, his 12th consecutive century, hitting the double century in 2015 and 2017. “Royal Ascot is the pinnacle of our season,” Fahey says. “If they can save it then hats off to everybody. But we need to be running before then. Or if we just turn up on the day we’ll find out who can actually train!” In charge of one of the biggest strings in the country, Fahey is continuing to build up his team towards an as yet undetermined resumption date. He says: “The uncertainty is the problem but it’s the same for everyone and it’s nobody’s fault. We’re in an impossible position. “More or less every owner has kept their horses in training – we cantered 170 the other morning. “Horses are athletes; you can’t switch them on and off like cars. They need cantering and exercise. You don’t see many athletes being roughed off, putting on two stone and then being expected to perform. I always think from being in the field to getting a horse fit enough to win is three months. “If an owner decided to take a horse out of training now and stick it in a field, they won’t be able to run until August. So they’ve got to stick with me. But if the lockdown goes into June then owners will be peeved. “We’re keeping them ticking over and making sure they are happy. The immature, young horses especially need to get their strength up and build bone density. I’ve breezed some of the twoyear-olds.”

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With a considerable cost base, Fahey is aware his business will come under increased pressure the longer the sport is on hold. “We’re set up to have between eight and 15 lads away racing every day, so we’ve furloughed a few staff members, including two of the box drivers,” Fahey explains. “We asked our jockeys not to come in; they’re riding out for different yards and I’m trying to protect my stable. There’s a duty of care to the staff.

“Horses are athletes; you can’t switch them on and off like cars” “The trainer’s profit is generally his percentage of prize-money. At the moment we are more or less breaking even – but we need to start getting some prize-money soon.” Fahey supports a plan for Britain to stage regionalised racing and, like his colleagues, is hoping for some positive news after the government announced it would hold a series of meetings with senior medical directors of the major sports to discuss resumption. He says: “I’ve been in touch with [Arena Racing Company Chief Executive] Martin Cruddace and he’s worked hard to ensure we can race behind closed doors at Newcastle and Lingfield as soon as we get the green light. It sounds the safest environment. “There will be a huge backlog. The race programmer will have to be a genius because he won’t keep everybody happy, I’m afraid. Whatever racing they put on they’ll get maximum fields.”

‘Flat trainers hit hardest’

As a predominantly jumps stable, Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell was in a different position to her Flat counterparts when the hiatus was announced. The Kinross-based handler may have missed out on sending runners to the festival meetings at Aintree, Ayr and Perth yet can plan with a greater degree of certainty, with the BHA announcing that the jumping programme will resume on July 1. “I think we have been less badly hit

than the Flat trainers,” says Russell, who has around 85 horses in her care across two yards. “The July 1 date has given us some certainty. “Saying that, April would generally have been a month where we pick up plenty of prize-money.” She continues: “When racing was stopped there was a feeling of incredulity – I felt so flat and it was such an odd thing to happen. But you have to be very careful. We live in a bubble where you think horseracing is the most important thing in the country. Obviously it’s not. As the coronavirus pandemic escalated we realised we had to look at the big picture. “We are lucky in that we work from two yards with a team of 40; half have been furloughed and the rest are split between the two yards. As my staff share accommodation we’ve divided it by houses – the only person that moves between the two yards is myself. “The main yard at Arlary is where we keep the horses in training and do the breaking, with an outdoor school and railed gallop. My store horses are broken at two and [jockey] Stephen Mulqueen is in charge of that side. “Our second yard is a farm and [jockey] Blair Campbell has become a farmer! He’s doing a lot of tractor driving, rolling and harrowing, helping with the grass management and maintaining the schooling fences.” Russell always keeps a close eye on how her business is performing and the shutdown means that her stable’s finances are under scrutiny like never before. She explains: “All 85 horses came out of training immediately when the BHA announced that jump racing was on hold. “We know our usual income in May and June is very low and this year that’s been extended to April, May and June. We also have extra costs during these months, as that is when we do the refurbishment of the stables and gallops.

Richard Fahey: breaking even without racing

“My average training fees for horses [out of training] are a quarter of what they would be normally. That’s the hit we’re taking. “A lot of our owners are in the drinks and hospitality industry – we are sponsored by Edinburgh Gin. Each owner has been looked at individually to see if we can help with things like offering to delay terms of payment. “We have around 35 jumpers to go through the summer and most came back in on May 1 to get ready for July, plus a small team of Flat horses.” Russell, who has decided to make up her furloughed staff’s wages by paying the extra 20%, also received the government business grant. “It’s £10,000 in the bank,” she explains. “It helps offset the extra money we’re paying staff.” Russell adds: “I’ve been so impressed by my team. We employ a lot of jockeys and we have had to alter their job description in a major way. “This break has given me time to look at the operation as a whole. I’ve tried to trim down costs and make the business even more efficient. That’s been a very useful exercise.”

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Online selling

Virtual

REALITY There was some trepidation ahead of the virtual edition of the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale but following its success confidence now runs high that it has helped set a template for those sales to come worldwide Words: Nancy Sexton

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Shuttler Zoustar enjoyed a good Inglis Easter Sale as the sire of this A$1.1 million colt

INGLIS/WIDDEN STUD

T

he international bloodstock community was united in its interest last month as the sales calendar ticked towards one of the flagship auction events of the southern hemisphere season, the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. No longer was the Sydney-based sale just a barometer of the health of the Australasian yearling market or an appreciation of elite southern hemisphere stock. With the world under the fearful grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, its move to a virtual auction with online bidding saw it suddenly become a forerunner of potential events to come, its performance an indication of how a luxury market could withstand the outside economic turmoil. As the bidding closed on Lot 514, the last of 345 horses to go through the virtual ring during two marathon sessions of selling on April 7-8, Inglis officials could take satisfaction in an international renewal of the Easter Sale that for the most part exceeded expectations. When all was done and dusted, a total of A$68,060,500 had been traded on 214 yearlings from buyers across Australasia in addition to those situated in Britain, Ireland, Japan, Macau and Hong Kong. The aggregate made for painful reading when judged against last year’s gross of A$123,375,500 as did a clearance rate of 62%, but both

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vendors another bite of the cherry via a second round of the auction, scheduled to be held in the traditional live format at its Riverside complex on July 5. All the while, Australian racing continues in some areas, albeit behind closed doors – Randwick was able to host its prestigious cards for The Championships on April 4 and 11. Results from the Easter Sale were still highly encouraging, however, especially for an event that had lost its largest vendor, Arrowfield Stud, once it was confirmed as a virtual auction; in a measure of Arrowfield’s importance to the market, its 2019 draft grossed A$21.47 million and was due to comprise 60 yearlings this time around. “This has been the most remarkable sale on so many levels,’’ said Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster. “Not only has it been the first premium

May_189_Online_Bloodstock_v3.indd 39

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TATTERSALLS

Tom Pritchard-Gordon: two purchases

TATTERSALLS

“The market appeared extraordinarily resilient to the world issues”

yearling sale anywhere in the world conducted in this format, it has been done during a global health and financial crisis with restrictive movements internationally and between states in Australia, making it hard and in many cases impossible for buyers to inspect stock in the lead-up to the sale. “But with fantastic teamwork and solidarity between our vendors and Inglis, we have been able to make this work.” Inglis officials noted that the company’s website had hosted almost 300,000 engagements during the sale from more than 100 countries. Coolmore’s Tom Magnier was quick to pay tribute to Inglis while outlining the importance of support in return. In addition to the sale-topping Snitzel colt, Magnier’s purchases also included the second most expensive yearling, a A$1.4m son of I Am Invincible, and the most expensive filly, bought for A$1.1 million and another by I Am Invincible. “We’re extremely passionate, our family is passionate about Australian racing and we’ve got some wonderful people who invest with us working with the yearlings and the stallions,’’ he said. “There have been some wonderful horses put through the sale this week. “It’s a credit to all the farms, not just ours, that everyone stuck together. Everyone did a great job getting their horses right, everyone got behind Inglis, everyone believed in it and made it work and when you put those formulas together, you get success.” The British-based Badgers Bloodstock was one of a handful of European buyers, with Tom PritchardGordon burning the midnight oil in Newmarket to make two strikes, firstly going to A$450,000 for an American Pharoah daughter of the Golden Slipper Stakes-placed Lake Geneva and then to A$110,000 for a Pierro filly in conjunction with Milano Bloodstock. “The market appeared extraordinarily resilient to the current world issues,” said PritchardGordon. “Remarkably, the sale’s filly average was A$294,000, down just four per cent on the filly average last year. This was testament to the hard work Inglis and all the vendors put into the sale.” Similarly, agent James Harron, who came away with a A$670,000 Frankel filly, was another to highlight the market’s resilience.

Tom Magnier: threw weight behind sale

TATTERSALLS

later rose as more private sales were conducted. However, the average of A$318,040 represented a fall of just ten per cent while the median dropped by only A$10,000 to A$250,000. A A$1.8 million colt by champion sire Snitzel out of Group 1 winner First Seal led the way among seven milliondollar yearlings. He was bought by Tom Magnier of Coolmore, which threw its weight behind the sale, purchasing close to A$7m worth of yearlings. Coolmore also reigned as leading vendor as the source of A$7.53m worth of stock. There was also a major result for Tweenhills Farm and Stud’s shuttler Zoustar, who featured as the sire of a A$1.1 million brother to Group 1 winner Sunlight. It is worth remembering that during the days leading up to the sale, buyers had the opportunity to visit stock on the farms based across the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. In addition, Inglis announced that it would offer

James Harron: praised the digital platform

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Online selling

As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the European breeze-up season, and with the likelihood of further upheaval to come, the Inglis Easter Sale was understandably keenly watched by sales houses in this part of the world as they look to salvage a tumultuous start to the sales year. “The Easter Sale gave the whole international bloodstock community a lift,” says Henry Beeby, Group Chief Executive of Goffs and UK Chairman of Goffs UK. “First and foremost I take my hat off to Inglis. They had to adapt very quickly, and under the circumstances the sale was a great success and certainly exceeded expectations. Inglis deserves immense credit.” There has not been a live sale staged in either Britain or Ireland since March 12 when Tattersalls Cheltenham held their Cheltenham Festival Sale. The chief sufferers have naturally been the breezeup sector, who in a normal April would have moved on stock at three different breeze-up sales. Hopes, however, remain high among the sales companies and vendors that those sales will still take place. As it currently stands, the first breezeups slated to take place this year in Britain and Ireland will be the Tattersalls Ascot

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“I thought it stood up remarkably well under the circumstances,” he said. “Obviously the clearance rate was much reduced from what we are used to seeing at an Australian yearling sale, which have been running in the 80% - 90% range for the past five years, but it is also worth pointing out how extraordinary the Australian market is to have maintained such levels for an extended period when compared to analogous markets around the world over the same period. “Naturally, Covid-19 created an atmosphere of panic and uncertainty. “While we have become used to online sales down here for a different level of bloodstock, with a huge number of livelihoods on the line, the prospects of such a platform being used for a premier yearling sale was completely alien. “This took a good deal of back and forth between vendors, buyers and the sales company to get right, but eventually Inglis were able to provide a

GEORGE SELWYN

Online trading in Europe brought into sharper focus

Henry Beeby: sees online bidding becoming an element of trading in Europe

and Craven Breeze-Up Sales, both of which have been delayed until June 23. Meanwhile, Goffs UK and Arqana have joined forces to combine their breeze-up catalogues for a sale at Goffs’ Kildare base in late June. All the while, the prospect of online trading in Europe is being brought into sharper focus. Buyers will get a taste of sales participation via an online platform as soon as next month at the combined Goffs UK and Arqana breeze-up.

good platform for people who wished to participate in an online, virtual version of the sale.” Harron wasn’t the only one to praise Inglis’ online platform, although as Pritchard-Gordon pointed out, a large proportion of business in this instance

“Inglis was able to provide a good digital platform for people” was conducted over the phone. “The version of digital platform used was only a halfway house to Inglis’ tried and tested online auctions,” says

According to company officials, an ‘online platform will support the live auction with potential purchasers being offered the facility to bid as normal, over the telephone or remotely via the Arqana and Goffs websites’. “Last autumn, Goffs UK and Goffs were working in the background to develop an online platform – Nick Nugent and Michael Orton led that charge – and in the past few weeks we have accelerated that development,” says Beeby. “I can see online bidding becoming

Pritchard-Gordon. “It appeared that the majority of bidding was done via telephone rather than computer. “However, the online system worked incredibly well and the slight video lag of two to three seconds was not an issue when it came to bidding.” He adds: “The full-blown online auction will surely be rolled out across the world in the near future. It is much cheaper and easier for the vendors to be involved with no travel, accommodation and staff costs. Therefore it complements lower-end bloodstock sales particularly well.   “However, if this medium is to advance into the more expensive lots, then the information provided will obviously need to be extensive. “While Inglis did an outstanding job in such a short timeframe, videos and photos of all horses have to show every angle that would normally be studied on the ground. “Furthermore, because size and substance are harder to assess,

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Jimmy George: ‘let’s remain optimistic’

makes sense to prioritise these projects under the current circumstances and to explore as many sensible options as possible to facilitate the sales process.” Then there is the question of yearling inspections ahead of the autumn yearling sales season. The bulk of Goffs’ inspections take place in May and June, says Beeby, and once restrictions start to ease, the group will have “a number of protocols in place” so they can be carried out. “You’re out in the open looking at these horses,” says Beeby. “We can hand sanitise before and after each visit. I don’t need to touch the horse so I don’t need to be near its handler. It’s not too

hard to distance.” George also envisages “little disruption” to the Tattersalls inspection schedule besides a later start. “Our bloodstock sales team has been looking at various options for yearling inspections based on a variety of different scenarios,” he says. “First and foremost we will proceed in full accordance with any government guidelines, whilst also at all times respecting the wishes of our clients. “At this stage our inspectors will not be out and about quite as early as usual, but based on predictions surrounding the lifting of the current restrictions, we would hope that there will be relatively little disruption to yearling inspections and also to our yearling sales calendar.” After all, October is still five months away and so there remains a real hope that those yearling sales slated for that autumnal slot, namely the Goffs Orby and Tattersalls October Sales, won’t have to undergo significant revision. “While life will almost certainly take some time to return to full normality,” says George, “our October Yearling Sales are nearly six months away and while realism is essential, it is equally important for us all to remain optimistic. “We are all part of an industry based on optimism and famous for its resilience, two characteristics which will serve us well in these uncertain and unsettling times.”

INGLIS/SLEDMERE STUD

additional information such as weight and height must be provided. We were lucky to obtain all this information as we had colleagues on the ground inspecting the horses on our behalf. “The only element that will be missing is temperament – viewers won’t see the horse that refuses to go back into his stall or parades angrily.”   In years to come, the industry may come to regard the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale as the curtain raiser to an era where online bidding became widely accepted. But for now it is the auction that struck a positive note for a market currently facing one of its most challenging periods of all time. “Participation in the Inglis Easter Sale was a ray of light in an otherwise turbulent time,” says PritchardGordon. “It was uplifting to be part of a scenario where vendors, agents and sales companies were all working in collaboration to get the best possible outcome for all involved.”

TREVOR JONES

an important element, though there are some practicalities to consider. In Australia, the buyers go from farm to farm viewing the stock. That doesn’t really happen here. “There is also a lot of instinct involved in buying a horse, and for that I don’t think you’ll ever take away having the horse in front of you. But with the way the world now is, people may not travel as much as before. I can see agents doing more home inspections.” Tattersalls, which owns a 25% stake in Inglis, is also in the process of developing such a platform. “I don’t think anyone would dispute that the conventional bloodstock sales model is very much the preferred one, particularly for yearlings of the quality to be found at the Inglis Easter Sale,” says Tattersalls Marketing Director Jimmy George. “But the virtual sale they conducted has clearly demonstrated that bloodstock sales can adapt and be conducted successfully under very different and challenging circumstances. “Tattersalls has a very close relationship with Inglis and we are delighted not only that the Easter Yearling Sale went as well as it did, but also that it has given out such a positive message as regards the possible options available to the industry when facing unprecedented challenges. “We have been looking at various digital platforms for a while now and it

This Snitzel colt, bought by Tom Magnier for A$1.8m, topped trade at the Inglis Easter Sale

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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Industry support

Help

YOURSELF Racing is just one industry that has found itself at the mercy of the current lockdown but for those who have found themselves out of work a number of schemes exist to help ease the financial burden during these difficult times

F

or a large number of racing employees – for example those who work for racecourses, the BHA and the Racing Post – the word ‘furlough’ has entered the lexicon. While being unable to work amid the coronavirus crisis and lockdown, and paid 80% of their monthly salary, capped at £2,500 by the government, such employees at least have their wages sorted out for them, the administration taken care of by their employer. Racing, however, is a sport awash with self-employed workers, including jockeys, and their situation has been both tougher and less straightforward. The government, understandably, took longer to arrange support measures for the self-employed, adding to and extending concerns, and indeed the Self-employment Income Support Scheme’s (SEISS) online service was not due to be available until the middle of May, with payments, backdated to the start of lockdown, by early June. The scheme allows people to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It will be available for three months initially but might be extended. Individuals can make a claim for Universal Credit while awaiting grants, which do not need to be repaid. Full details can be found at gov. uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-throughthe-coronavirus-covid-19-selfemployment-income-support-scheme The self-employed, meanwhile, are also being helped by measures such as the deferral of self-assessment tax requirements, ‘holidays’ for mortgage payers, and strengthening of the welfare ‘safety net’.

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HMRC has a number for coronavirus queries from businesses and selfemployed individuals: 0800 024 1222, with opening hours from 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday. Most jockeys are self-employed, and it is estimated that up to 35% may not be eligible for government help. The significant gap – the announcement racing was to be halted with immediate effect came as long ago as March 17 – until racing’s self-employed workers can receive money from SEISS was among the main reasons for the announcement

“We have a tough battle ahead with an unprecedented collapse in income” of an emergency £22 million support package for the sport on April 17. The Professional Jockeys Association, the riders’ umbrella body, was given access to nearly £2m, to provide a mixture of loans and grants to jockeys, agents and valets – the latter two groups being among the less high-profile members of racing’s family but, given their self-employed status and reliance on the sport taking place for livelihoods, as vulnerable as any.

The PJA, additionally, in partnership with the Injured Jockeys Fund, created a Jockeys Hardship Grant Fund. Both organisations set aside a significant six-figure sum from their own funds, matching grant funding from the Racing Foundation, to assist jockeys with immediate hardship issues. There are three elements to the assistance programme for jockeys, agents and valets: an income support scheme; interest-free overdrafts; and the Hardship Grant Fund – full details are available via thepja.co.uk. PJA Chief Executive Paul Struthers said: “There has been significant uncertainty and concern among our members, and I’m sure this has been shared by the many other selfemployed individuals in the racing industry.” Another large group of selfemployed within racing are trainers, and with thousands of racehorses still requiring daily care and exercise it has not been possible for trainers to furlough many staff. The National Trainers Federation’s latest estimate was that around 80% of stable staff are still working. Stable staff should benefit from a scheme to allow trainers to apply for loans to help pay their wages until government support payments are made. The NTF proposed the plan after concern about the gap in receiving money from the Job Retention Scheme for staff who have been furloughed. A new industry scheme – the Racing Relief Fund – will be led by the ROA to meet the welfare needs of horses whose owners are suffering financial hardship. Supported by the Racing Foundation, this will provide up to

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GEORGE SELWYN

The majority of stud and stable employees are continuing to work while racing is on hold

£2.5m of grants to assist with costs of looking after horses, in racing stables and in rehoming centres. Further details can be accessed at info@roa.co.uk. ROA Chief Executive Charlie Liverton said: “Racing’s leaders want to act as quickly as possible to protect livelihoods and address hardship. Make no mistake, there are people struggling who need our help. We hope this funding will go a long way to supporting the most vulnerable. “People across racing, including many owners, are currently facing significant financial challenges whilst continuing to maintain payments. We would like to thank trainers and everyone else who has worked hard to ease costs and care for horses in these most trying of times.” The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association has established a helpful coronavirus hub within its website – thetba.co.uk – to keep the breeding industry up to date with latest developments. It also last month conducted a survey to discover how coronavirus is affecting breeders. Of the Levy Board and Racing Foundation’s £22m emergency funding package, up to £8m was to be made available for human and equine hardship issues as follows (the

remaining sum of money was to be made available to racecourses): • Filling the furlough and SEISS gap up to £2.79m • The establishment of a Racing Relief Fund up to £2.5m • Jockeys support and hardship scheme up to £900,000 • Support for British racing’s charities up to £900,000 • Support for Racing Welfare’s hardship grants up to £750,000 • Racing Industry Accident Benefit Scheme up to £104,000 Those within the industry – especially the self-employed – are strongly encouraged to make use of the available schemes and funding as outlined, while we all await racing’s return and the re-establishment of bloodstock sales. Nick Rust, the Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “This package of self-help funding offers some initial relief to the hard-working people, horses and businesses on whom racing relies. “We know this does not solve the acute problems the industry is facing but it will provide much needed shortterm assistance.

“Now we have an incredibly tough battle on our hands with an unprecedented collapse in income. More support will be needed and the most important way to achieve this will be through a safe resumption of racing when conditions allow. “We have communicated this to the government and we are working hard with the other major sports to bring this about.” In the meantime, in addition to the website address for SEISS, and jockeys’, owners’ and breeders’ websites given in bold above, the following may be useful and relevant for others working in racing, or retired: injuredjockeys.co.uk naors.co.uk forgeandfarrier.co.uk racehorsetrainers.org racingwelfare.co.uk britishhorseracing.com As this issue went to press, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, revealed a further initiative to help small businesses, which can apply for a new Bounce Back Loan up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months.

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Spring paddock maintenance

A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E

Paddock management in a challenging climate Words: Paul Overton

Equine paddocks should have a safe, level surface and a ‘good bite’ of fresh grass

I

t may seem a distant memory now but the constant rain and wet weather earlier this year that led to flooding – and forced stud personnel to wade through wet gateways on poached ground – has now changed into a prolonged dry spell, with only the odd shower to soften the concrete-like hoof marks and ruts. This is a common scenario in the Newmarket area, which is often wet. The sudden change, with the east winds drying the paddocks, has left a compact, hard rutted-surface, which can be damaging to young horses’ legs and feet. Often the window to repair and prepare paddocks is very small and passes by very quickly. The unique equine calendar means that horses are out in paddocks in the most extreme weather conditions. Autumn and winter weather can be challenging, with horse numbers putting pressure on the paddocks at all studs. Stud managers often feel there is never enough paddocks and area to work with – extreme weather often puts considerable extra pressure on the stud manager’s shoulders. In the equine industry, we do not have the luxury of holding horses in barns and turning out when the grass is fresh and conditions are warm and dry. Covid-19 has put extra pressure on studs, not only with regard to losing staff members who are self-isolating, but also due to holding more horses on studs for a longer period, cutting down the rest periods for many paddocks. Stud managers may have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Paddock assessment

It is always important to walk and examine the state of all of the paddocks on a regular basis.

A paddock must have a safe, level surface and a ‘good bite’ of fresh grass, a simple concept but not easy to achieve. It is easy to let the grass levels drop which allows clover, weeds and moss to invade the grass sward. Also, the mixture and the make-up of the grass species can change over time and after extreme weather conditions. The most palatable nutrient-holding grass species for horses, like rye grass, fescues and smooth stalk meadow grass, are the most vulnerable to overgrazing, poaching and extreme damage. The coarser grass, like creeping bent and couch grass, have underground rhizomes and produce little leaf area, thus making them very hardy and able to withstand damage from hooves, harrows and weather. But with their low leaf area that quickly fades in the early summer, they hold little useful nutrients to horses and can be unpalatable. A paddock with a low grass level, dominated by coarse grass with shallow surface compaction, is the most common problem seen in equine paddocks and affects the visual look and performance of many paddocks. The drop in grass levels can creep up slowly and result in a paddock turning into a ploughed field after a short period of grazing. By looking at one square metre section of a paddock and discounting anything other than grass, what have you got? It should be 90- 95% grass and at least 75% of that should a palatable grass. Clover is a positive in paddocks as a source of calcium and protein, but must not be allowed to dominate. The word weed is subjective; dandelions and yarrow are herbs and a low level is fine but again, must not be allowed to dominate the grass.

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By Deidre Carson MRCVS

Spring paddock maintenance Paddock inputs

Paddock equipment is available to suit all budgets

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Daisies, thistle, docks, buttercups and ragwort are most definitely weeds and invade where there is bare soil, prospering in low grass level paddocks by competing for vital moisture in periods of stress. Also, it is important to look at the soil structure and grass rooting, as a healthy soil produces good grass and helps drainage.

Paddock inputs are the tools we have in a can or a bag to help improve our paddocks. The first thing we go for is usually a herbicide/weed killer as visually we hate to see untidy paddocks. However, there are drawbacks to their use. Firstly, the withdrawal interval on most grassland herbicides is seven to ten days, but the common rule of thumb for horses is three to six weeks, to make sure any poisonous weeds are gone and the paddock is safe. The second major impact of herbicide spraying is the need for qualified operator with a Pa1 and Pa2 certificate and equipment, or the hiring of a contractor to apply when the wind is low and conditions are right. The weeds will re-establish on any bare areas from seed if there is no competition from grass; a thick grass sward will have very few weeds. While weeds are the symptom of a problem, the problem most often is low grass levels and poor grass growth. Often the best route to tackling a low grass/weed issue is to over-seed first, to establish new grass into the sward, and then tackle the weeds. The harrowing and seed preparation often damages the weeds and allows the new grass to establish. The other advantage of doing the seeding first is that many of the grassland herbicides require a one-month interval before over-seeding, which makes timing difficult and can take a paddock out of production for a longer period than ideal. New grass seed is the most important input to equine

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A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E

Specialist machines like the ‘Aggravator’ or ‘Verti drainer’ can be used to break up shallow compaction and allow the soil to be aerated, but a simple slit roller in the right condition can be equally as effective. Remember, the aim should be to get a safe, level surface with a final good grass cover. The order of repairing, seeding and fertilising can be flexible, but should be done as soon as possible to allow time for germination and rest prior to re-use. I would also caution against over-vigorous use of paddock sweepers, as a poorly set up machine can damage the palatable grass and increase the coarse grass level.

Action planning and conclusion

Low grass levels due to weed and clover competition grassland and the rebalancing of the grass make-up is the most important element of paddock management. New grass seed should be in all budgets at the start of the season as the most cost effective input we have. A basic soil test for ph, phosphate, potassium, and magnesium is always the best base for any fertiliser inputs. Monitoring of the ph level is critical to equine grass and a ph of 7-plus should be maintained, as many equine stud farms are on a chalk soil type. Though important, lime application may only occasionally be needed. A balance of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium is the most common product used and it does not have to be complicated or expensive. The timing of any fertiliser application is the key to success, ideally a minimum of four weeks before grazing is needed, but a longer period may be necessary if dry weather is forecast.

Paddock equipment and operations

It is vital to repair any damage to a paddock as effectively as possible and within a small window of good ground conditions. The use of grassland tyres can prevent tyre damage to the soil surface. There is a wide range of well-designed paddock equipment to suit all budgets and a good range of specialist contractors available to help get the work done. Traditional chain harrows, tine harrows and knife harrows all have a role to play in the repair operation and would be a good starting point. These machines can be fitted with a seeder unit to allow over-seeding while harrowing. There is also a good range of disc or slit direct into the surface drills available. For broad casting or slit drilling, the main aim should be to get good soil seed contact in order to achieve the best germination. Rolling should be saved until the end of any programme, as it is easy to compact the soil surface and restrict grass regrowth.

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The key to good paddock management is to have a regular rotation of horses around the paddocks and a good plan of instant repair for damaged paddocks, as the window of opportunity can be very small. The repair and rest periods are crucial and the longer horses can safely graze a paddock, the quicker they can return. These are the main indicators of a good grass paddock. Planning of the gateways, water troughs and the placement of feed pots also have a big influence on the length of use of a paddock. A poached-up gateway and a wet pond near a water trough may only be 5% of the total area of a paddock, but may override the 95% of usable area and force you to move horses on early.

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ROA Forum

The special section for ROA members

A message to the membership Dear owners, During these challenging and uncertain times, I have been amazed and inspired by the spirit of owners and everyone else in the racing family. Pulling together and finding a way forward has been the overriding theme over the last few weeks and we must maintain that fighting spirit, to ensure that racing is in a position to thrive when this crisis is over. Our industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The resultant financial pressures mean that racing’s suspension has threatened the livelihoods of people throughout this sport. As owners, you are the lifeblood of the industry and your continued individual support to horses, stable staff and trainers is invaluable. Together, our continued show of strength will help this industry survive during this difficult time. Over the last few weeks, through virtual meetings covering issues ranging from hardship relief to resumption, I have seen first-hand the constantly developing challenges this crisis is creating. Racing is in a precarious position and we should make no bones about the fact that the retention of owners and their horses, jobs, livelihoods and welfare standards, things we have worked so hard to build as an industry, are on the line. Yet, given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, I continue to see so much of what we all love about this sport and what has tied me for so long to this industry: a passion for horses and a will to fight and thrive. In April, the industry agreed an unprecedented £22 million package of relief support for the most vulnerable people, businesses, and horses in our sport – a vital safety net to protect those most at risk. Our working groups came together and agreed a plan for the resumption of racing at exceptional speed, giving the industry some hope, which would enable money to start flowing back through our sport. As we continue our dialogue, there will undoubtedly be more to do to keep racing ticking over and ready for a return to action. That includes working with other sports to show exactly what we mean to people across the country. The fragility of the situation can present frustrations and we are working hard to overcome them. We continue to ensure that the owners’ role in sustaining the sport is recognised. We want to do more, and are working hard, to protect and incentivise the number of horses in training. We want to see racing back across the country. This period has forced us to face harsh realities but it will not dissuade us from doing all we can for owners and the sport of racing. There is a comforting reality to what the racing community stands for and how we do our bit for Britain. Racing contributes £4.1 billion to the UK economy and indirectly employs 85,000 people, playing a central role throughout rural communities across the country. Owners provide over £600m directly into the racing industry, which pays £275m in taxes to the Treasury. Racing is important to Britain. Owners are important to racing. We can deliver for racing’s future, together. Every day I see our stakeholder bodies working together, individual owners supporting their horses and trainers, and yards supporting their stable staff. It gives me increased confidence that, as a community, we are doing our utmost for a sport we all love. I look forward to the day when I can see you all on the racecourse again. Until then we will be working hard to ensure we have a sport to return to that can continue to prosper once Covid-19 has been defeated. Yours faithfully,

Charlie Liverton ROA Chief Executive

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Charlie Parker is new ROA President Charlie Parker will succeed Nicholas Cooper as ROA President with effect from June 30. Confirmation of the election in March will see Parker serve a three-year term as President, which follows two three-year terms after election to the ROA board in 2015. He has been closely involved with the work of the ROA business as Chairman of the Membership Committee and a member of the Audit Committee. On his appointment Parker said: “I am honoured to have been elected as President of the ROA by my colleagues on the board. “The ROA is a vital component within the British horseracing industry and I am determined to continue the outstanding work of Nicholas Cooper in not only keeping owners at the forefront of discussions and decision making, but also to help the wider industry bodies face up to the enormous challenges that we will face over the coming months.” Chris Wright was elected last year for a three-year term as Vice-President. The board recognised the contribution of Nicholas Cooper during his four-year term as President, which was extended

REGISTER FOR UK VAT It is now more important than ever to ensure that you are registered for UK VAT and reclaiming your VAT back under the ROA’s scheme. In this unprecedented time, it’s important to know that the VAT scheme can save you approximately £4,000 per horse per year excluding the VAT that can be reclaimed on the original purchase price of your racehorse. The scheme was introduced in March 1993 and enables racehorse owners to recover UK VAT incurred on their racing expenses e.g. training fees, vets’ fees, keep fees, transport costs, 10% of your mobile phone and telephone bill. To qualify you must be a registered owner with the BHA, have a horse in training and have a valid sponsorship contract registered with the BHA. As a member of the ROA you automatically qualify to join our sponsorship scheme, which is run in partnership with the Tote. Owners’ silks sport a Tote logo and

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industry and the ROA has made significant strides during that time.”

ROA board election and AGM

Charlie Parker: term as ROA President begins on June 30

by one year. Chief Executive Charlie Liverton said: “On behalf of the ROA board I would like to convey thanks and gratitude to Nicholas Cooper for his contribution to the board over the past seven years, and for his commitment over the past four years as ROA President. “His leadership has been a constant during a period of evolution for the

annually owners receive £100 plus VAT once registered with HMRC. For further details please email info@roa.co.uk. Even if you own a share of less than 50%, you may be eligible to register for UK VAT with the other partners to validate a VAT registration of 50% or above – again if you have any questions please contact the ROA team at info@roa.co.uk. Once registered, each owner submits quarterly VAT returns to HMRC, including all racing related income and expenditure. You can also continue to recover your racing related VAT when your racehorse is at rest, providing you intend to re-enter your horse into training the next season. If you decide to retire your horse from racing, and recovered the VAT on the original purchase, then you will need to value the horse and declare the VAT to HMRC on this value at the point of retirement. If you decide to sell your racehorse please ensure you bill the purchaser with VAT and include your UK VAT number on any sales entries and invoices. If you forget to do this then the sales value could be deemed as VAT inclusive by HMRC.

Members showed significant interest in standing for election to the ROA board this year, with 15 candidates contesting three places. Members are being sent details of voting, which will be available online for the first time this year. The 15 candidates standing this year are: Mark Albon, Donald Clark, John Corsan, Simon Double, Colleen Ford-Ellis, Edward Goodwin, Amanda HamiltonFairley, Sam Hoskins (re-standing), Gay Kelleway, Mary Philpott, Ged Shields, Alan Spence (re-standing), Graham Triefus, Martin Warren and Randy Weeks. New for this year, a security code will be sent by post to members, inviting them to vote online. Where we don’t hold an email address, voting details will be sent by post. To register your email address please email info@roa.co.uk. The ROA AGM, which was scheduled to take place at York on June 30, has now been changed to an online event. Further details will be announced in due course.

HMRC now operates a making tax digital platform, and currently only VAT registrations above the HMRC VAT threshold (more than £85,000) must comply – however, the likelihood is that this will be extended to all VAT registrations in the future, and therefore it is worth looking at and researching digital packages to submit your quarterly VAT returns seamlessly. Details of online packages can be found at https://www.roa.co.uk/ resource/help/mtd.html

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ROA Forum

Supporting racing’s participants LEVY BOARD CEO ALAN DELMONTE ON HELPING THE SPORT DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS The Horserace Betting Levy Board collects a statutory levy based on the British horseracing business of bookmakers, including betting exchanges and pool betting operators. It receives no government grants and no National Lottery funding. Levy income is then distributed, focused on the improvement of horseracing, veterinary education and science and rare breeds.

Do we know how much would be lost in revenue if, for example, Royal Ascot was cancelled? As with the Grand National, Royal Ascot would be a significant contributor. Therefore June, which also includes the Derby meeting and a number of other significant fixtures, would, as with April, usually be a month with a higher than average levy yield. Alan Delmonte: Levy Board will play an important part in restart arrangements

Can we say at this stage how prizemoney will be affected further down the line? It is impossible to say with certainty. Much depends on when racing can resume, which will only be done when it is responsible and not against the policy of the government, and what the resultant betting activity is. We will need to be sure we do not overcommit in the short-term in what is an uncertain environment. But the Levy Board has a track record of giving a

Prize-money is just one of the areas funded by the levy collection. Could we see cuts to funding for veterinary science, education or other areas? When racing was cancelled, we took early action to ensure that nonessential, discretionary expenditure by our grant recipients was minimised, so as to ensure we were preserving our funds. Necessary expenditure will continue to be funded by us and we have looked to reassure our recipients of this. Thinking beyond the short-term, it is undesirable to cut funding to projects midway through or where the Board has made a specific

GEORGE SELWYN

There’s been no racing since just after the completion of the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March. Fixtures lost include Aintree’s Grand National meeting, the start of the Flat at Doncaster and Newmarket’s Craven meeting. What impact will this lack of racing have on the yield collected by HBLB? Levy yield fluctuates depending on results but the last two years have averaged £90m, so that is £7.5m a month. From March 18 to the end of April, bearing in mind the Grand National meeting is a significant contributor, it’s somewhere in the region of £13m lost levy income.

high priority to prize-money, by far our biggest heading of expenditure, and this will continue.

Losing the Grand National meeting among other fixtures in April saw the Levy Board coffers take a significant hit

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commitment. But everything will have to be looked at in the round. We will take evidenced-based decisions and will look to consult appropriately to ensure that our funding is distributed effectively across the sport. Will HBLB advise the BHA on the revised racing programme/fixtures when racing starts in order to maximise levy yield? Yes. We are represented on a number of different workstreams including the one dealing with the resumption of racing. The Levy Board will have to play a significant part in the restart arrangements and we must ensure we have kept back the resources to do this. The funding and scheduling of fixtures is interlinked, so we are working with racing’s organisations to ensure that we produce the right programme for the horse population, which will in turn provide competitive racing attractive to the public. HBLB and the Racing Foundation have agreed a £22 million support package for racing. How did you decide which groups to help? The BHA, Horsemen’s Group and RCA worked collaboratively on a funding package. The Levy Board and Racing Foundation joined meetings as appropriate. Broadly speaking, the package was divided Levy Board/ racecourses and Racing Foundation/ horses and people. A key aspect of the Levy Board’s package is that it will be advancing already approved grants and making loans available – this provides cash flow assistance to all racecourses. Crucially, it keeps back sufficient monies for us to fund a race programme with additional grants when fixtures resume.

“Racing’s return will transform our ability to help as income starts to flow” We are continuing to provide grants for regulation and integrity expenditure, veterinary research, the racing schools’ training of stable staff and so on. We were making use of our reserves at around £2m a month, even before we provided extra help for the sport. The value of racing to the rural economy stretches far beyond the industry’s direct participants. How closely is the Levy Board involved with DCMS and government advisers? We are regularly speaking with DCMS, our sponsor government department, and through DCMS to other departments such as the Treasury. For the sport more generally, BHA leads on this for racing, though HBLB and BHA are in near-daily contact to ensure co-ordination and to exchange information. What are the main challenges facing the industry when it starts to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic? Some of the most difficult will be the unexpected ones people haven’t yet thought of, because there won’t be a plan for those. The rest are going to be around protecting

horse welfare and people welfare, businesses’ viability, keeping breeders and owners still active, the wider economy and the availability of cash for investment in ownership and other disposable income like racegoing and betting. There are also the issues of reorganising the Pattern, major races and bloodstock sales. The sport will need to work closely together with a common purpose and have patience in restoring itself. From a Levy Board perspective, once racing is back on, it transforms our ability to help as income starts to flow. Once we are through that initial phase of resumption, the Levy Board will also have to consider how it rebuilds its reserves; with equine flu and coronavirus both bringing racing to a standstill in the last 14 months, it is essential that the Board finds a way to return to a position in which it is able to support the sport in future similar circumstances. What message would you like to give to owners, trainers and racing’s participants at this time? Practically, to take advantage of every government scheme that you can as a business or as an individual. The whole world is caught up in this storm and the first priority is to get shelter. It is unrealistic to say that the Levy Board can solve every problem, but we are recognising at the outset that there needs to be immediate and meaningful support for racing’s participants when fixtures resume, rather than saying that this can only be an afterthought. We are therefore working hard to ensure that any extra funding we provide before racing resumes is targeted and effective, so that we keep one eye on the future.

TRAVEL THE WORLD FROM HOME At this time of the year we would usually have a busy diary of events for members to enjoy. While members are staying at home and keeping safe during the lockdown period, we thought it would be an opportunity to arrange a series of exclusive virtual tours, specifically designed for owners. Our virtual tours will take you behind the scenes of studs, stables and racing facilities, not just in the UK but around the world, with expert commentary from those closest to the horses at the heart of the action. We hope you’ll join us virtually from the safety of your homes for a visit over the coming weeks. Links will be emailed to members. Videos will be uploaded to YouTube and you can subscribe to the Racehorse Owners Association channel.

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ROA Forum

OWNERSHIP MATTERS: essential admin Transfer of responsibility

Under the Rules of Racing, where a racehorse moves yards your trainer will be required to mark your horse(s) as being taken out of their care and control. They will record where a horse is transferred to you as the owner. An email will be triggered to you via the Racing Admin website noting the date the horse left the care of the trainer and explaining the requirements of transfer of responsibility. In accordance with equine antidoping rules, you will need to accept the transfer of responsibility. This can be done by logging in to racingadmin.co.uk in the ‘My Horses’ section. If you don’t have your login, or have problems logging in, a Transfer of Responsible Person form will need to be completed. If necessary, a copy can be downloaded from britishhorseracing.com.

Third party liability scheme

During this very difficult time we are mindful that owners may have horses whose seasons have had to finish prematurely, or who will have been sent away from their trainers’ yards for a prolonged period of rest or turnout. We would remind members to check with the owners/proprietors of such premises that they have the requisite third party liability cover in place, for a minimum limit of indemnity of £2 million, but ideally for up to £5 million. If your racehorse(s) normally return to your home or your own premises for their rest periods, or if you are intending to do this due to the exceptional current circumstances you should check your liability cover will extend to include these. Most household policies include domestic animals; whilst this may include leisure horses and ponies it may not include racehorses whilst resting. Should you have any queries please use the link below to contact details for our insurance brokers Weatherbys Hamilton who will be happy to help: https://www.roa.co.uk/benefits/third.html

Bloodstock insurance

Owners who have insured against all risks of mortality might be due a partial refund (return of premium) if the use is reduced, perhaps while a jumps horse is temporarily out of training, or where a horse is sold/retired. It is worth checking with your insurers whether they will be

Owners are reminded of their responsibilities towards their horses in the current climate

making automatic readjustments for periods where horses’ seasons have been cut short unexpectedly.

Owners are reminded of the following anti-doping regulations for horses that will return to racing: http://rules. britishhorseracing.com/#!/book/34/ chapter/s3457-anti-doping

date the horse is made ineligible to run and is no longer bound by the Rules of Racing. It also triggers a notification to any new keeper, advising them that they are responsible for completing a transfer of ownership within 30 days. If the new keeper fails to do this, they may incur a fine of up to £5,000 from Trading Standards.

Vaccination schedule

New owner details

Horses returning to racing

For the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing nine-month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019. For full details see www.britishhorseracing.com

Horses retiring from racing

Both owners and trainers (acting as an agent for the owner) are able to notify the BHA about the decision to retire a horse from racing through the Racing Admin website at www2.racingadmin. co.uk. The owner/trainer will be asked to confirm:

• T he reason for the horse’s retirement • R estrictions on racing in the future (non-racing agreement)

• D etails of the horse’s new keeper Completion of the online form triggers the start of the permanent retirement process, which takes 14 days; after that

Where the horse has a new owner, the new owner’s name, email address and postcode will need to be uploaded by the trainer/owner when giving notification of retirement through the Racing Admin website. This information helps ensure the racing industry can identify and have the fullest possible traceability for those racehorses that have retired from the sport. A dedicated page on the BHA’s website will allow participants to check the retirement status of any horse. This can be found at https://selim. britishhorseracing.com/padua/

Passports

To update ownership information online (for horses not in training) see weatherbysgsb.co.uk. In the case of a horse that dies or is euthanised the passport must be returned to Weatherbys within 30 days, along with a note stating the date of death. Passports can be returned to the owner upon request.

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Life after racing

BHA provides guidance around a racehorse’s life after racing: https:// www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/ life-after-racing/

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) As British horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) places great value on improving traceability. In addition to meeting legal requirements in updating the passport, the owners of former racehorses should register their horse with RoR. Initial registration is free, ensuring

both ongoing traceability of where a horse is in retirement, and providing the new keeper with a support network. Registering for free includes the opportunity to benefit from the extensive programme of educational activities run by RoR. Last year over 300 educational events were available to those registered with RoR. RoR also assists racing owners and trainers in rehoming and retraining their horses. The charity offers an advice line, the Source a Horse website facility and a retrainers’ directory. RoR is awaiting funding to roll out a nationwide network of regional field

officers who, once recruited, will be on the ground points of contact for owners and trainers. See www.ror.org.uk.

Central Equine Database

The Central Equine Database is used by equine Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) who upload passport records, and by regulatory bodies including DEFRA, the Devolved Administrations (for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Food Standards Agency and Local Authority Trading Standards. Owners can register with the digital stable at https://www.equineregister. co.uk/home

News in brief Racing2Learn

The BHA announced the launch of Racing2Learn in April, a new online e-learning platform for anyone involved with the racing and thoroughbred breeding industries. The platform, which has been developed over the last 12 months in collaboration with 1st4Sport Qualifications and the wider racing industry, aims to provide a range of flexible eLearning courses that can be accessed remotely. Some courses are designed specifically for certain job roles within racing and breeding with more generic courses also available. It is free to use for a limited period and once registered most courses are free to access. Some of the areas covered include horse care, racehorse welfare and safeguarding. There are also downloadable learning programmes and a calendar of learning and training events. Courses will be updated and new courses added on an ongoing basis. Each course contains interactive elements and certificates can be achieved which have continuous professional development (CPD) points applied by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.

Covid-19 resource

The ROA has been updating guidance for owners online through a dedicated Covid-19 resource at roa.co.uk, a weekly bulletin and social media

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updates. If you would like to receive ROA ebulletins, please email details to info@roa.co.uk.

Pencil portrait offer

suffice. This will serve as an update to your training agreement, required under the Rules of Racing, 15, Trainer Code. The ROA / NTF training agreement can be found at roa.co.uk

Owner Breeder online

At a time when many of our members may be missing seeing their horses, a beautiful portrait may be particularly welcome. Amy Thomson, equine artist, is offering members 10% off pencil portraits during the lockdown period. Amy works in graphite pencil to produce beautiful, realistic portraits of horses. Please see amythomsonart.co.uk/ artwork or email amythomsonart@ outlook.com.

Training agreement

For horses in training, where a variation in terms is agreed between you and your trainer get it confirmed in writing. A clearly written email will

The April issue of Owner Breeder was mailed to all UK and Irish-based members of the ROA. In the difficult weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic we were aware that the magazine may be delayed or may not have reached members. We therefore uploaded a digital version of Owner Breeder, hosted in the members’ area of the ROA website at roa.co.uk. This is part of a new service to ensure members can access the issue online. Members based overseas will be sent details to view a digital version of the magazine as we were advised that any magazines sent overseas were not guaranteed to be processed or delivered. We have also uploaded all the previous issues of Owner Breeder from this year to the members’ area. The magazine will continue to bring you news and features in these unprecedented times.

ROA’s new contact details

The ROA office has relocated from London to Reading. Our new phone number is 0118 338 5680, while the email address remains info@roa.co.uk. Our new postal address is Forbury Court, Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1SB.

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ROA Forum

MAGICAL MOMENTS

GEORGE SELWYN

The O’Sullivan families hit the heights at Cheltenham

The O’Sullivans: Francesca, Michael, Mikey, Maxine, Alan, Gerard and Eugene celebrate It Came To Pass’s Cheltenham Festival triumph

I

t came to pass. The Cheltenham Festival that is, though only just – four days after it had concluded, the BHA announced British racing was to be suspended due to the coronavirus. It Came To Pass also happens to be the name of the longest-priced winner at this year’s meeting, the Foxhunter hero providing a fairytale family success for two different, unrelated clans of O’Sullivans. The ten-year-old is trained by County Cork-based Eugene O’Sullivan and was partnered by daughter Maxine, carrying the silks of Alurie O’Sullivan, who watched on television at home in Manchester, with husband Gerard, daughter Francesca and grandson Michael all at Cheltenham. While odds of 66-1 scream ‘surprise’, had he been trained by Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott, his price would have been much shorter; indeed, as his owner points out: “Nobody seemed to realise that we’d beaten [the Mullinstrained 11-4 favourite] Billaway easily the previous spring – and On The Fringe the following month.” Alurie O’Sullivan and her husband have been owners for 25 years, and

“We don’t have expensive cars or houses – racing is our only hobby” while she describes the Foxhunter triumph as “the icing on the cake”, there have been other magical moments, too, and It Came To Pass has few miles on the clock and hopefully can provide a few more. “We’d always been interested in racing, and got into ownership through a business associate of Gerard’s who owned Forgive ‘N’ Forget,” says Alurie. “We got introduced to Ray Peacock, who said he had a horse in mind for us, who turned out to be Nuns Cone. “He was our first horse and on his first start for us we had our first winner, at Uttoxeter. That got us going.” While there is more to come for

the owners, their association with the late trainer does provide a certain upto-date symmetry, given that he was to train in the shadow of Cleeve Hill, at Tenbury Wells, after moving from Malmesbury. Other trainers for the O’Sullivans have included John O’Shea, George Moore, Patrick Haslam, Karen McLintock and Ian Williams. They have always preferred jumps racing, though have had the odd Flat horse (My Fantasea won three times in Alurie’s colours), and one of their first was a Flat-bred and -raced performer who was bought to go hurdling, Red Valerian. A certain Frankie Dettori partnered him on debut for Ian Balding. “He was a star,” recalls Alurie O’Sullivan. “He won six times for us, but sadly we lost him at Sedgefield when he struck into himself. “We started off buying at the sales but went into breeding as well. Some of our horses have been very good, some not so good. We’ve always favoured smaller trainers. “Eugene O’Sullivan is no relation but is from near where my husband is from and we’ve been with him 20 years

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GEORGE SELWYN

or so, and have had great success in point-to-points.” The family, who have a property company, have sold as well as bought, Francesca O’Sullivan succinctly and amusingly pointing out: “We have to sell the good ones to keep the bad ones!” She continues: “We sold Bailarico to Warren Greatrex; he won his first six races for the yard, including what was supposed to be his hurdling debut but became a walkover at Leicester in December 2018, when it was good to firm. Its A Sting was one we sold to Oliver Sherwood. “It’s become harder over time to buy the better horses, which is why we went into breeding – we have a couple of broodmares at the moment, a couple of youngsters in pre-training with Richard Kent. We’re happy to wait for horses to come along; we’re in no rush. “Bunclody was one we bred, while my favourite was Lord On The Run, who won for us at Newbury, and was second there too.” Homebred Super Citizen, meanwhile, is showing promise in Irish points and is another the family has with Eugene O’Sullivan. The trainer has always had faith in the ex-Dr Ronan Lambe-owned It Came To Pass, having bought him last spring when Jim Culloty quit training, as both Alurie and Francesca O’Sullivan relate. Mum says: “Eugene kept telling us, ‘He could do something for you’. He’d been pulled up in January, in his race before Cheltenham, but there were reasons for that – he lost both his front shoes – and Eugene was very optimistic going into the Festival.” Daughter adds: “It was a shock to win as you can never expect it – I was thinking, ‘This doesn’t happen to people like us’ – but Eugene did keep telling us. The more people I told that he’d run well, the more I didn’t believe it! “We’ve been in the game so long and had so much disappointment; even when a horse wins and looks promising, they don’t tend to go on.” One obvious question with a 66-1 winner is whether connections availed

It Came To Pass and Maxine O’Sullivan clear the last in style in the Foxhunter Chase

themselves of fancy prices. “No, we don’t back them,” answers Francesca. “We’re superstitious and have our little rituals. At Cheltenham, dad and Michael watched in the parade ring, but I prefer to watch alone and was in a public bar!” Drinks will certainly be the order of the day (and night) when the coronavirus lockdown is over, for there has yet to be a winners’ celebration. “We’re looking forward to going to Ireland for a party, and to see the trophy again,” continues Francesca. “It’s huge, and valuable, and it’s a good job Eugene was able to take it back in a horsebox!” The plan for It Came To Pass had been Aintree, then Punchestown, and not being able to compete at the Grand National meeting was a shame for the O’Sullivans. “Along with Haydock, Aintree is local and we love it there,” says Francesca. “It’s hard to beat Cheltenham, but I must admit it would be great to go to Aintree with a nice horse. We take a corporate box there. “It Came To Pass is a big, oldfashioned chaser, he wasn’t blowing in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham and was roaring, bucking and squealing in the field the day after.” His rider is highly regarded by the owners, and Francesca says: “We have known Maxine since she was young

and she did all the work with the horse, took him to the beach, galloped him, put in a lot of effort. He’s hers as much as ours. “She’s won ladies’ championship titles but is still underrated. She’s got good timing and is strong in a finish – she’s won a lot of close races for us.” For the County Cork O’Sullivans, It Came To Pass was a second family Foxhunter thrill, with Maxine saying: “My uncle won the race on Lovely Citizen in 1991, which dad trained and my granddad [Owen O’Sullivan] owned and bred. Unfortunately, he died in the last couple of years, but he would have been so proud.” In a way, the situation with It Came To Pass – a great win followed by enforced inactivity – epitomises the ownership experience for the O’Sullivans. “You cannot beat having a winner, it’s fantastic, and we like going to the races,” says Alurie. “Dislikes would include the waiting – for suitable ground, the right race, right distance. Injuries too, of course.” Francesca concludes: “We enjoy the ups, as there have been some downs, and we’re not in it for the money. We don’t have expensive houses or cars; racing is our fun. It’s what we want to do, our only hobby, and something we enjoy doing and look forward to as a family.”

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TBA Forum

The special section for TBA members

Covid-19 protocol for thoroughbred breeders The below guidance for the breeding community in Britain was released on March 26 General

1. Only staff who are essential to the care of horses, and who absolutely cannot work from home, should continue to travel to work during the period of these restrictions. 2. The standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding the welfare of the horses in their care. Any non-essential activity beyond this must be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided. 3. Studs must close to any visitors, other than those that are essential for the welfare of the horses in their care. 4. Staff must follow all government advice relating to good hygiene and virus transmission, and carry out prescribed hand washing and sanitising procedures including any surfaces/handles/equipment. 5. Hygiene is vitally important when handling new equine arrivals. Staff will use hand wipes, gels, disinfectants to clean any related equipment both before and after handling. 6. Staff must follow all government advice on social distancing at all times. Staff must remain at least two metres apart and avoid gatherings of more than two people, apart from members of their own household. Gatherings of more than two should be avoided except where absolutely essential for horse welfare. In these instances numbers should be limited and social distancing rules must still apply. 7. Contact between staff of studs and any essential suppliers must also comply with the government advice on social distancing, with no more than two people present unless they are of the same household. 8. Veterinary advice by phone and email should be sought on ensuring effective sanitisation and isolation. 9. Local procedures must be recorded and displayed as appropriate and there must be records that staff have been fully trained.

The UK breeding industry is still open for business with strict regulations in place

Transport

1. Any appointments must be made in advance of travel (also see item 8.). 2. Associated paperwork must be completed and sent electronically in advance, including passport information and completion of the COVID-19 transport form. 3. The vehicle used for transport must be disinfected before and after every visit including any handles, the ramp or other areas where stud staff may have had, or will have, contact. 4. Staff travelling in the horsebox must comply with government advice on social distancing (as outlined in item 6 above). 5. Unless there is an emergency or human or animal welfare requirement related to the animal being transported or the driver, it is

prohibited to stop on the journey. 6. At the destination, the unloading and reloading of the horse must be conducted by the staff at the destination with no contact with the travelling staff. Hygiene precautions must be followed at every stage of this loading process, using robust disinfection processes of the horsebox handles and any equipment, and hand washing. 7. Staff travelling in the horsebox should only exit the horsebox at the location they are visiting to use welfare facilities, using all sanitary precautions. There must be no direct contact with the staff on the site. 8. All these movements between premises must be recorded online at: https://horsemovement. weatherbysgsb.co.uk.

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Chief Executive Claire Sheppard on how the TBA has responded to the coronavirus pandemic What has the TBA been working on since the Covid-19 outbreak?

The pandemic has had an unprecedented social and economic impact domestically and globally, and presented complex challenges to the TBA and the breeding and bloodstock industries as it is doing throughout the wider world. Since the beginning of March, the TBA team have become almost solely focused on responding to the crisis. In the short term this has involved responding to immediate questions from our members and ensuring continuity of essential operations for studs during the busiest time of the year. We have been liaising with specialist advisers, and the UK government, carefully considering the instructions and advice, to ensure that the breeding industry can continue to operate safely in the current environment. The TBA Protocols for Thoroughbred Breeders were developed to ensure that breeders could continue to send mares for coverings and other essential activity whilst adhering to government social distancing guidance. Health and hygiene advice for the workplace and workplace training were also developed to help stud teams remain safe. Another part of our team’s work has been to ensure that our members are kept regularly updated with developments, and that the government support schemes that may help breeding industry businesses and their people are promoted on our website’s Covid-19 hub and social media channels. The TBA has also been actively involved in the industry’s Covid-19 working group and representing breeders’ interests at an industry level.

How is the TBA updating the membership?

We have been sending regular email updates to members since Monday, March 16. If you have an email address but haven’t received any notices, we recommend checking junk folders or adding info@thetba.co.uk to your

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address book. You can also check if we have your email address on record by calling the TBA. We have also created a Covid-19 hub on the TBA website, which holds all relevant information and documents for the thoroughbred breeding industry, links to useful UK government resources, racing industry information and support services available from Racing Welfare. Our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) have also been of great help in getting news out to our members during this time. Please search for the TBA and follow our accounts to view our latest updates. For those without internet access, we have sent direct mail, which included the TBA Protocols for Thoroughbred Breeders. However, due to the rapidly changing nature of the Covid-19 outbreak, we are unable to send all updates via mail.

How has Covid-19 affected TBA operations?

For the health of our team and our members, the TBA office in Newmarket is closed for the foreseeable future. We are following government guidelines and most of the team are working from home. Members can contact the team with any queries on 01638 661321 between the hours of 9am–4pm on weekdays or info@thetba.co.uk.

What is happening to TBA events? The health and safety of our members is of upmost importance. All of our events up to September 30 have been cancelled. Members already booked on to events have been contacted and asked if they would like to keep the booking or prefer a refund. We will assess whether it is possible to re-schedule events at a later date.

Where can I find information on help for employers and the selfemployed?

The TBA website’s Covid-19 hub contains links to a number of official UK government resources that are available

to the self-employed and employers. We have also published guidance documents, general information and templates specific to the British thoroughbred breeding industry on both the hub and the Employer Information page in the members’ area of the website.

Is there any other support available for people within the breeding industry at this time?

The Levy Board and Racing Foundation have announced a £22m package of funding support for the industry during this time. The TBA has also worked with other stakeholders on a submission to government for additional support We are all very conscious of acting as quickly as possible to address hardship throughout the sport. The support from industry funders to address the immediate hardship needs is very welcome, however people’s livelihoods are being threatened and there remain major challenges ahead. Help on a more personal level is available from Racing Welfare, which runs a 24-hour support line service to anyone working in the breeding industry. The Racing Welfare website also offers useful guidance on its hardship fund and application process, as well as information on childcare, benefits, and other services.

What is the Weatherbys Horse Movement System (DEMS)?

The recording of horse movements between premises is something we have been working on with Weatherbys for some time in order to ensure that Britain meets the standards of future EU Animal Health Law. However, thanks to the team at Weatherbys, they have been able to deliver this for use in the current situation, so we have the ability to record and trace all movements. The TBA considered it very important to demonstrate to the government that all possible measures were being put in place. A user guide can be downloaded from the TBA website’s Covid-19 hub.

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TBA Forum

Brits continue to flourish behind closed doors NH MOPS WINNERS Friday, March 6 FFOS LAS British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle Winner: LEGENDS RYDE Owner: Awtp Racing Partnership Bonus: £5,000

GM Hopkins (nearside): still winning aged nine

Whilst racing in the majority of European jurisdictions came to a close one way or another in March, racing continued to play out behind closed doors in other parts of the world. Before the closures in France and Britain, Nature’s Colors and Urban Icon both landed their first stakes successes on the all-weather venues at Deauville and Wolverhampton. Godolphin’s Nature’s Colors, a four-year-old son of the late Poet’s Voice, easily took the Listed Prix Altipan. A day later and the Minster Stud-bred Urban Icon, a son of Cityscape, came out best in the Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes. That same day across the Atlantic at Tampa Bay Downs, Outburst put in a gutsy front-running display to take the Grade 3 Florida Oaks. Bred by Rainer Stockli and Manfred Wurtenberger, the three-yearold filly provided her Dalham Hall Studbased sire Outstrip with his first Group or Graded stakes winner. Twelve months ago GM Hopkins was victorious in the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship over 1m3f and the evergreen nine-year-old retained his title under Pat Cosgrave in the middle of the month. The gelding took the spoils by half a length from fellow son of Dubawi, Seniority. The pair were followed home

by Muzdawaj and Zamaam for a Britishbred clean sweep. Not to be outdone, British-breds have enjoyed a good run in Australia, where racing has continued in all states bar Tasmania. Three entered the winner’s enclosure after stakes success in March. The Juddmonte-bred Imaging set the ball rolling on March 14 in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill. Victory for the entire son of Oasis Dream, who was making his second antipodean start, was his biggest to date. A week later and the Hesmonds Stud Ltd-bred Aktau, a son of Teofilo, continued his ascent up the Australian ranks with victory in the Listed Mornington Cup. This was a third win in four Australian starts for last August’s Goodwood scorer. The third and final British-bred winner came in the shape of Cascadian. The Godolphin homebred, a five-year-old son of New Approach, improved off his third to Imaging two weeks earlier to take the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude Handicap at Rosehill. This year’s Cheltenham Festival will be remembered for a variety of reasons, but one that should stick in the mind is that seven mares entered the hallowed winner’s enclosure across the four days.

Tuesday, March 10 SEDGEFIELD Willie Thompson 60th Birthday Celebration Mares' Novices' Hurdle Winner: RED REMINDER Owner: Mrs H N Eubank Bonus: £10,000 Tuesday, March 10 CHELTENHAM Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (registered as the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle) Winner: HONEYSUCKLE Owner: Kenneth Alexander Bonus: £10,000 Saturday, March 14 NEWCASTLE Sports Betting At betuk.com Mares' Novices' Hurdle Winner: STAINSBY GIRL Owner: Alistair Duncan Bonus: £5,000 Amongst them was Honeysuckle, who stretched her unbeaten record to eight under Rules and nine in total. Bred by Dr Geoffrey Guy and a daughter of the late Yorton Stud-based Sulamani, the sixyear-old fended off the attentions of the odds-on favourite Benie Des Dieux in the Grade 1 Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle.

30-day foal notification remains in place It is essential that breeders/owners remember to notify the General Stud Book (Weatherbys) of a foal’s birth when it is bred for racing in Great Britain, and its whereabouts within 30 days of its birth (day one being the date of birth). Notification is FREE and should be done through the online portal: www.weatherbysgsb.co.uk. The foal notification provides the key to timely traceability of horses at all stages of their lives, to strengthen and further demonstrate the industry’s absolute commitment to the highest possible welfare standards.

Effective systems to provide traceability are rightly seen as instrumental in dealing with disease risks and in maintaining high standards of health and welfare. Please be aware that 30-day foal notification is different from foal registration, this must still be completed with the General Stud Book in accordance with the legislative requirements and any other Rules of Racing. Breeders can check whether a foal has been successfully notified by using the following link: https://selim. britishhorseracing.com/potro/.

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BREEDER IN FOCUS – Henry Cole Losing last month’s Randox Health Grand National in the Covid-19 lockdown had many consequences. One of the more unusual was missing the chance properly to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the final race of a mare whose grandson won a Grade 3 chase in February. This longstanding link between Dubacilla, who ran fourth to Royal Athlete in the 1995 National, and this year’s Kempton winner Mister Malarky goes back a further 15 years, to the day that Somerset-based Henry Cole bought his foundation mare. Forty years on, he is trying to give up horses, although with some reluctance behind his endeavour. “I’ve already gone ten years beyond with the horses,” he confides. “I said I wouldn’t keep any more after I was 70, but I’ll be 80 in October this year. I’ve only been a small breeder, because I was a dairy farmer all my life, and carrying on in a small way has been my passion, and we’ve had great fun with it.” Cole’s recollection of the start of what he describes as “a good hobby” remains crystal clear. “I’ve had this family for over 40 years,” he recalls, “ever since I went to Newmarket in late-October 1979 and

“Just Camilla bred Just So and Dubacilla – they paid off the mortgage” bought Lot 1 at the five-day sale for 1,200gns, a yearling filly by the American stallion Ascertain out of Princess Camilla, a very good staying mare in her day, who ran in two of Red Rum’s Grand Nationals and won the Warwick National. “I named her Just Camilla. She never ran, but from her came Just So and Dubacilla, and so on down to Priscilla and Chilla Cilla and Drucilla today. “They’ve been great fun. I won the Dudgeon Cup for broodmare of the year at the TBA awards 25 years ago, and the TBA Breeder of the Month last year. Not bad for a small breeder.” Just So, who began his career in pointto-points, and Dubacilla, who took the more traditional route of a bumper debut

Mister Malarky is the latest in a long line of winners bred by Henry Cole (inset)

followed by three runs over hurdles, were staying chasers in the mould of Princess Camilla. Cole trained both under permit before sending Dubacilla to make the most of “the best facilities for the best mare in the country” at David Nicholson’s for her final season. The pair ran a total of 64 times under rules; Just So won three times and was placed on ten occasions, while Dubacilla won nine races and was placed seven times, but both ran the races of their lives in defeat. Just So, a strong-finishing sixth in the 1992 Grand National, fought Miinnehoma to the line at Aintree two years later and was beaten only a length and a quarter, 20 lengths clear of the third horse, while Dubacilla looked a real threat turning for home in the 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup but had to give best to Master Oats, before she finished fourth to Royal Athlete in the National on her final outing. “Just So and Dubacilla paid off the mortgage,” Cole says, pointing out that in the latter years of Dubacilla’s racing career she was plagued with foot trouble. “Anyway, she did us proud and her progeny keep throwing up a good one, right down to Desert Queen, who won two Listed mares’ chases, and Mister Malarky.” Desert Queen and Mister Malarky are out of Dubacilla’s daughter Priscilla, a Teenoso mare who produced Chilla Cilla and Hameldown Tor, in his time the best point-to-pointer in the West Country. Cole relates: “Priscilla was a damn good mare but unlucky. She would have

won a novices’ handicap chase at Taunton in January 2006 but for pecking badly at the last and unseating her rider.” Priscilla died in 2015 but the legacy lives on through Cole’s broodmare duo of her daughters Chilla Cilla, dam of the three-time chase winner, Midnight Chill, whom Cole sold for £31,000 at the DBS May sale as a three-year-old in 2015, and Drucilla, whose first foal, a two-year-old Clovis Du Berlais filly, will go to auction next year. Cole says: “I’ve got a nice Kayf Tara three-year-old gelding out of Chilla Cilla, who’s very correct and will go to the store sales when he can. He’s with James Read at Wincanton at the moment. It’s best to send them away because you want to get them off their home ground, so they see something fresh. “And then there’s Drucilla, a beautiful mare who has been bred to Affinisea, a young sire by Sea The Stars and a threeparts brother to Soldier Of Fortune. I’ll have her covered again.” So, the immediate future appears sorted, which tends to give the lie to Cole’s hope for full retirement. “I can’t lunge the horses now, because I get giddy, but doing them in the morning and putting them on the walker in the winter keeps me fit,” he says. “I’m still into the breeding part, studying pedigrees and following the stallions coming through. It’s my passion, and the five or six horses here, including the couple of mares, keep me interested. You could keep going until you’re a hundred, couldn’t you!”

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BREEDER OF THE MONTH – MARCH

Sport is often about fine margins. That was certainly the case at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, both with the decision to stage the meeting in the face of the escalating coronavirus pandemic to the racing itself that produced numerous close finishes. After failing to get on the scoresheet last season, there was some relief among British breeders on the opening day when Honeysuckle ensured there would be no repeat by coming out on top of a titanic tussle with Benie Des Dieux in the Grade 1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle. Dr Geoffrey Guy and his joint-owners of The Glanvilles Stud, Doug and Lucy Procter, are the breeders of the undefeated daughter of former Yorton Stud resident Sulamani. The Dorsetbased stud has already collected a Breeder of the Month award this season for the exploits of Honeysuckle and Sam Spinner in December and was therefore not eligible for the March award. Two days later in the closest finish of the week, the shortest of margins denied Melon victory in the Marsh Novices’ Chase with the Irish-bred Samcro prevailing by a whisker. The Newsells Park-bred Melon now possesses the frustrating distinction of finishing runner-up in four Grade 1 races at the Cheltenham Festival. Frustration and disappointment, mixed with an enormous amount of pride, must surely have been among the emotions experienced by Richard Kelvin Hughes in the immediate aftermath of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. His homebred Santini had come within a fast

GEORGE SELWYN

RICHARD KELVIN HUGHES

Santini: fine second in the Gold Cup

diminishing neck of fulfilling a long-held ambition to breed the winner of jump racing’s blue riband event with his first ever runner in the race. The steady early pace in a contest more often run at a blistering gallop had counted against the strong finishing Santini, who was in front of the winner Al Boum Photo 20 yards after the winning post. Like Melon, Santini has become a Festival specialist without actually winning. His Gold Cup near miss follows a narrow defeat by Topofthegame in last year’s RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase and a third place in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2018. The eight-year-old was having only his sixth race over fences in the Gold Cup and has an excellent chance of going one better next year when his main opposition could come from one of his stablemates at Seven Barrows in the shape of the Irish-bred Champ. Santini is out of the Sleeping Car mare

Tinagoodnight, a winner on the Flat at Clairefontaine before her private sale to Kelvin Hughes, who put her into training with Nicky Henderson. After easily winning a juvenile hurdle at Kempton, signs of temperament were on show when she next appeared on the racecourse, being reluctant to go to post and then refusing to jump off with her rivals. She was retired to Trull House Stud soon afterwards and her first covering by Midnight Legend resulted in the very smart Dusky Legend, a three-time winner and twice placed in the Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, a race sponsored by her breeder. She is also the dam of Rockpoint (by Shirocco) who seems to have inherited her ability and perhaps some of her temperament as his record includes a Grade 2 win over hurdles at Cheltenham and a refusal to race on his most recent start. There have been no such alarms with Santini, the outcome of Tinagoodnight’s mating with the St Leger winner Milan. He has never been out of the first three in ten starts under Rules, his six victories including the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree and the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January. Kelvin Hughes’ Trull House Stud dispersed some of its stock at Goffs UK in 2018. Tinagoodnight was retained as was My Petra, whose three-year-old colt by Kayf Tara is being primed as a jumping sire by his ambitious breeder. The broodmare band is now stabled at Little Lodge Farm in Worcestershire under the care of Robert and Jackie Chugg.

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Breeders’ Digest

Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor

Unity required ahead of a challenging sales season

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SARAH FARNSWORTH/GOFFS UK

A

ny kind of normalcy seems a world away right now with our lives having narrowed beyond imagination in the past six weeks. In turn, our own bubble, racing, has rarely been so threatened. Perhaps racing will return in some format later this month. It is to be fervently hoped but the analogy used by BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust on Luck On Sunday of balancing on a knife-edge when it comes to the sport’s return is not hyperbole. On the other hand, as pointed out by David Redvers in the later pages of this magazine, this industry will be “in terrible peril” if the sport doesn’t make a swift return, as everyone involved is undoubtedly painfully aware. For the breeding fraternity, it is worth reiterating that comprehensive guidance can be found in this month’s TBA Forum and on the TBA’s website (thetba.co.uk) within its dedicated Covid-19 pages that are updated most days. There is also the question of the sales calendar. Auction houses are doing what they can to accommodate the breeze-up community, with every European twoyear-old auction already rescheduled to the best availability. Various members of the sector are resigned to taking a hit but overall breeze-up vendors are a resilient group and it is to be hoped that enough positives come out of the season for them to reinvest in the autumn. Beyond the breeze-up season, the sales companies seem hopeful that the autumnal yearling sales calendar won’t require significant restructuring. Maybe that will turn out to be the case but there has to also be a fear that some of those early yearling sales won’t escape revision. And even if they do come to be staged in their original slots, the extent of the potential ramifications of the lockdown, such as potential quarantine issues for participants and restrictions on travel and accommodation, won’t be clear until much closer to the time. Which makes the need for unity all the more urgent. There might be an element of stating the obvious in this, but as we know there are occasions

The 2020 sales calendar has been disrupted

when not everyone sees eye to eye and competition runs high. However, right now it is vital that everyone works together, and that includes sales companies. An early example has already emerged in the decision by Arqana and Goffs UK to join forces and merge their breeze-up sales into one event staged in late June at the Goffs sales complex in Ireland. By all accounts, news of the amalgamation has been well received by buyers, particularly as a move indicative of the will to make everything work. The pandemic has also turned the spotlight on to the greater role that online bidding will come to play in future auctions. Areas of the sales process have been exposed as archaic, although in recent weeks Tattersalls and Goffs have accelerated the development of their respective online bidding facilities. Results from last month’s virtual edition of the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in Australia provided encouragement in that department and now it has been announced that the newly combined Goffs UK and Arqana breeze-up sale will also offer an online bidding platform. It will be interesting to watch it evolve but hopefully it can ultimately become a support to a sales season that is going to face many challenges.

SMALL RELIEF

News filtered through last month of some light relief for smaller breeders in North America with the announcement that prominent owner Charles Fipke

is to waive the 2020 stud fees on his stallions in the US and Canada. Fipke stands seven stallions including Grade 1 sire Tale Of Ekati and young Grade 1 winner Bee Jersey. Both stand for $5,000 at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky. Fipke revealed the news by publishing a statement on Twitter via his consultant Sid Fernando on April 13, and by the end of that week, about 50 mares had joined their books. “What can I say? Small breeders will especially be affected by the economic conditions, and they are the backbone of this industry,” said Fipke, a Canadian geologist who has horses in training with Joseph O’Brien and Sir Mark Prescott. “None of my stallions stand for more than $5,000, and they are primarily supported by small breeders. Because I own my stallions outright and don’t have shareholder responsibilities, I am able to do this, with the support of the farms where they stand. I’m passionate about this game and will continue to support my stallions, and I’d like to show my appreciation for outside breeders who do so as well in these trying times.” With regard to Europe, much of the fallout within the breeding industry will be felt much later on, particularly for 2021 as breeders reevaluate their plans without any signed contracts to adhere to. Many of this season’s nominations would have been sold prior to the outbreak; the stallions likely to suffer in 2020 are those picking up late foaling mares. It will be interesting to see if any European-based studs come to follow a similar route to Fipke down the line. Indeed, representatives from one big Kentucky farm with no attachment to Fipke have admitted privately that such a move has already become more commonplace within the lower North American market as the industry seeks to regain momentum. It’s unlikely to happen on a major scale in Europe. However, stallion masters over here might just have to get even more creative with their terms to sustain books in 2021.

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Product Focus

Highclere Castle Oats have been fed to the winners of well over £13m in prize money and 750 races over the last 5 years who have won over distances from 5f to cup distance and ages from 2yo to 4yo +. Oat digestibility can be particularly critical for racehorses in training. In these cases, daily grain ration may approach 50% (by weight) of their total diet. Oats have the highest fibre content (13%) and lowest energy of all the grains, making them the safest to feed. This means oats have more bulk per nutrient content, and horses have to eat

more to satisfy their nutrient requirements. Bulk makes it more difficult for the horse to overeat and get colic and crucially to avoid ulcers which are a serious issue with horses in training. They have been considered the “safest” grain to feed horses because their starch is more easily digested in the horse’s small intestine than the starches in maize or barley. This minimizes the potential for undigested starches to reach the horse’s hind gut, where they can cause colic. Oats are also less susceptible to contamination by moulds producing mycotoxins than other whole grains. This means horse owners can buy, feed, and store them with greater confidence. Compared to processed grains or processed mixed feeds, whole, unprocessed oats can maintain their nutritional value almost indefinitely when stored under proper conditions.

HIGHCLERE CASTLE “SUPERIOR OATS”

They are clipped, polished and graded. Only the largest oats are used and we guarantee a minimum 60KG/hl bushel weight (human milling oats standard is only 50). Because all the oat grains are sorted, they are mostly of one size and bright in colour. All our oats are dust-free and have been through our cyclone power cleaners to remove unwanted dirt and dust particles. Please contact office@highclereestate.co.uk or call 01635 250600 for more details.

PEPTIZOLE®

Maximising peak performance is vital to ensure success in thoroughbred racing and the horse’s health is fundamental to optimal physical fitness. One study has shown that 93% of recently raced thoroughbred horses, and those in training have equine gastric ulcers (EGUS)1. EGUS is recognised as a complex and multifactorial condition, with factors influencing its occurrence ranging from the horse’s individual temperament and predisposition through to feeding and turnout. As this condition is so prevalent, it is fortunate that oral omeprazole paste is permitted by the BHA to help treat this very common condition. Peptizole® Oral Paste for Horses, containing omeprazole, is licensed for the treatment and prevention of recurrence of equine gastric ulcers in horses, including mares, foals and breeding stallions. Recognised for being

bioequivalent to the pioneer, treatment by inhibition of stomach acid production is achieved with just once daily dosing at 4mg/kg and prevention of recurrence is achieved with a 1mg/kg daily dose. Peptizole, with its easy-to-use dial-a-dose syringe treats up to 700kg bodyweight, which is 22% more than competitor products. In addition, the paste incorporates cinnamon leaf oil to improve acceptance and ultimately provide a reliable, accurate and cost-effective aid to maximising your horses’ performance when it counts the most. 1

 urray MJ, Schusser GRF, Pipers FS, Gross SJ. Factors M associated with gastric lesions in thoroughbred racehorses. Equine Vet J 1996;28:368–374

For further information, please e-mail marketingGB@norbrook.co.uk, or call us on 01536 741147.

62 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E

STABLE SHIELD DISINFECTANT

DIAZORB is a powerful supplement, presented in an easy to use paste, for use in digestive upsets in foals and horses. It contains Probiotic, Prebiotics, Bentonite, Pectin, Sodium Chloride & Dextrose. Anyone who breeds foals will be well aware of the setbacks and potential loss of life that can be triggered by any digestive upsets that may trigger diarrhoea. They are generally aware that prompt treatment is a must. Treating digestive upsets in foals and horses with DIAZORB is based around the following principles: • • • • • • •

Stable Shield Disinfectant is alcohol-free but is an advanced hard surface/multi surface cleaner and sanitiser that is manufactured to contain one of the fastest acting and most powerful germ killing products available today. It is effective within 30 seconds and kills up to 99.999% of bacteria but contains no irritants within its formula.

Protect the gut lining Remove or neutralise toxins Restore the balance of gut microorganisms Reduce fluid loss Help replace electrolytes Provide an easily digested energy source Be easy to administer

Common equine infections such as ringworm, strangles and aspergillus can be prevented with regular use. Infectious diseases can spread easily, so to minimise the risk, adopt a regular cleaning regime using the new STABLE SHIELD DISINFECTANT alongside Stable Shield’s anti-bacterial paint for better protected yards and stables.

DIAZORB should be added to the normal feed ration or fed direct for 3-5 days until normal gut motility resumes.

STABLE SHIELD DISINFECTANT is available in 5L at £65 + VAT and delivery.

Visit: www.trm-ireland.com or Email: info@trm-ireland.com for more information

For further information on the Stable Shield range visit the website: www.stableshield.co.uk

IS BEDDING REALLY IMPORTANT?

• AMMONIA – poor bedding and bedding management exposes horses to greater contact with ammonia which can damage the respiratory system and attack the structure of the hoof bed.

Hygiene in the stable is critical to prevent infection and disease and to maintain the highest levels of biosecurity; so, quality and hygienic bedding, along with proper stable management is vital. Global equine veterinary research confirms that the bedding you choose for your horses can make a huge difference to their overall health, wellbeing, and performance. BEDMAX was the very first bedding purpose-made specifically to help horse owners address the health risks that threaten horses spending long periods in their stables. These pine shavings are designed to combat the health threats this research identified:

• HOOVES - horses moving from a wet environment outside onto a dry highly absorbent bedding run a high risk of hoof damage lack of secure, resilient support, particularly under the frog can lead to musculoskeletal problems. BEDMAX is dried at sterilising temperatures to an optimum moisture content to prevent hooves from drying/cracking. • HOCKS AND JOINTS – poor bedding can increase the risk of injury to hocks and joints when horses lie down or roll in the stable. BEDMAX protects horses from injury. • REST - horses need approximately 60 minutes of REM sleep every 24 hours. They need to lie down to achieve this and without a satisfactory bed horses are less likely to lie down and rest properly. BEDMAX is designed to encourage REM.

Superior Oats & Haylage

 IRBORNE DUST AND SPORES - from bedding are the •A major cause of respiratory problems amongst stabled horse. BEDMAX has the lowest levels of potentially harmful airborne dust. • ANTIBACTERIAL - BEDMAX is made predominantly from naturally antibacterial Scots and Corsican pine timber, which helps to reduce mycotoxin levels in the stable.

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Wherever BEDMAX is being used, customers know they are guaranteed a healthy, hygienic, long lasting and 100% reliable world-class bedding to enable horses to perform at their very best. Please do contact me personally if you would like to receive further information or to arrange a visit. Brent Adamson, BEDMAX International Racing & Stud Specialist E: brent.adamson@bedmax.co.uk M: +44 (0)7774 178925

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The Finish Line with David Redvers Optimism and promise abound in the youngsters that populate the paddocks at Tweenhills Farm and Stud in Hartpury, Gloucestershire. As the operation’s owner and manager, David Redvers, reflects, it is also a bittersweet time for the outfit as they lament the early loss of Roaring Lion, whose first foals are now on the ground, while there are big hopes for Qatar Racing’s Kameko, a Classic contender and potential star of the future. Interview: Nancy Sexton

I

n my opinion, Kameko is the horse they have to beat this year in the Classics bar Pinatubo. The frustration is that by now Kameko would have run in the Craven Stakes and we would have had a better idea of where we’re going with him. All the reports I’ve had this spring from Andrew Balding have been very encouraging. He’s done very well – he’s filled out and gotten a lot stronger. I can see him being a mile, a mile and a quarter type of horse, and in a normal year, the obvious programme would have been the same one that Roaring Lion followed. The main thing is that he still has it all in front of him and the dream is still alive.

about 70 foals so far and by the end of the season, we’ll probably have around 30 by Roaring Lion. It’s a bittersweet time. I’m absolutely tickled pink with his foals. The ones we have are dreamboats, they have the same broad heads and some of them also have the same markings that he did as a foal before he went grey; a lot of them are already turning grey around the eyes. They also have the same length and leg, a real good hip and good action. There is a common thread running through them, which is exciting, but also sad at the same time. We are extremely pleased with our foals from the first northern hemisphere crop of Zoustar. All you can see in his foals is speed, speed, speed. They have a huge hip and great action. It’s going to be fascinating to see what everybody else has by him but the general consensus is that those breeders who supported him last year are pleased that they did. The frustration is that we were hoping to bring Sunlight over to Royal Ascot [multiple Australian Group 1 winner Sunlight is from the first crop of Zoustar], and for Zoustar as a shuttler that would have been hugely important. But obviously with everything going on with the coronavirus outbreak, that is looking increasingly unlikely. Our other young horse, Lightning Spear, has let down into a beauty. He’s a proper beast and he’s passing that on to his stock.

Enemy, with John Gosden, is another smart horse. He is a Muhaarar colt out of a very good mare, Prudenzia, and won well on his only start last September at Ascot. We also have Riot with John, who won at Kempton and also looks promising, and then we have a lovely unraced colt called Darain [a brother to Too Darn Hot]. Among the fillies, I can see Know It All making up into a good sprinter and Run Wild [second in the Prix des Reservoirs], who races for Tweenhills Fillies and Meridian International, looks to have taken a big step forward. We’ve been able to continue at the stud on a day-to-day basis and the staff are all happy and healthy. We’re lucky at Tweenhills in that we are based in one of the best parts of the country. We’ve had

GEORGE SELWYN

Kameko: exciting

64

I hope we’re racing in May, in which case the Guineas can be run at Newmarket in early June. Royal Ascot can be held on its original dates, with perhaps a few tweaks to their programme, and the Derby in the first week of July. That is the best-case scenario and I know Ruth Quinn, the BHA and European Pattern Committee, among others, are working very hard to find a way through. Obviously it’s a fluid situation but even if the government decides to relax the lockdown, I still think we are looking at racing without a live audience until September. It’s our tenth anniversary of QIPCO Champions Day this

year and if we can run that meeting with a live audience, it would be terrific. Racing behind closed doors can happen very effectively as we’re seeing in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. Racing is the only sport currently going on in Japan. I was speaking to [trainer] Mitsu Nakauchida and he said that the TV audience there has ballooned. The sport has become so popular that instead of heading to the government asking for money, racing is now paying money into the Exchequer. So Japanese racing is now in a position where they are entertaining the nation and paying into the government. There is no question that we should be doing that. The templates for racing behind closed doors are there in Australia and Japan, with strict protocols in place. A wonderful opportunity exists for racing to self-help and get up and running. It is important that we are able to prove that not only can we look after ourselves but we can help the Exchequer as well. If racing is stopped for an extended period of time, it will take many years to get back to where we were. We will be in terrible peril and a lot of livelihoods will be lost. One of my biggest concerns is also for the young people coming into the industry. At the end of the day, the sport can only thrive if the next generation is motivated to get involved, and they need to have an incentive to come into the industry. The hardship of a shrinking economy is coming our way but a swift return to racing will put us in with a fighting chance of survival. Rather than feel sorry for ourselves in all this, we should be actively planning for the return of racing and looking ahead to the yearling sales. We can operate effectively behind closed doors. If we get it right, follow those templates of other countries still racing and put strict protocols in place, there is this massive opportunity for us.

THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER

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DAR20075 Owner Breeder page-Late foaling mares-1 MAY20.qxp 16/04/2020 12:17 Page 1

The best horse in Dubawi’s fifth crop was not his Guineas hero Night Of Thunder but the record-breaking European Champion older horse, Postponed. Postponed’s first foals sold for up to an amazing 280,000gns last December and will have run as three-year-olds when foals conceived this spring are at the yearling sales. No wonder he’s never been so popular and is covering his biggest book yet. Postponed: don’t delay!

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Please call to discuss your options. +44 (0)1638 730070 +353 (0)45 527600 +33 (0)2 33 36 21 20

Tweets of great feats Be first with the news @DarleyEurope

Second thoughts and new plans. All part of the joy of a late-foaling mare.

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