Wednesday, January 9, 2002
LATEST WILLIAM HILL ANTE-POST PRICES
2002 VICTOR CHANDLER CHASE: 9-4 Young Devereux, 4-1 Get Real, 5-1 Wahiba Sands, 7-1 Exit Swinger (from 8), Redemption, Turgonev, 9-1 Davoski (from 10), 10-1 Killultagh Storm, 14-1 Fadoudal du Cochet, 25-1 BAR
2002 SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE: 13-8 Istabraq, 3-1 Valiramix, 5-1 Landing Light, 16-1 Arctic Owl, Bilboa, Jair du Cochet, Ned Kelly, 20-1 Azertyuiop, Hors La Loi III (from 25), Marble Arch, 25-1 Ansar, Westender, 33-1 Bust Out, Grimes, Regal Exit, 40-1 Stage Affair, Ulundi, 50-1 Dark Shell, Joe Cullen, Milligan, Montalcino, Tempo D'Or, Tiger Groom, (Others Upon Application)
2002 QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE: 11-4 Edredon Bleu, 10-3 Flagship Uberalles, 8-1 Fadalko, Native Upmanship, 10-1 Knife Edge, 11-1 Wahiba Sands, 14-1 Geos, Tuitchev, 16-1 Direct Route, Latalomne, 20-1 Grimes, 25-1 Dusk Duel, Ikrenel Royal, Moscow Express, Young Devereux, 33-1 Aghawadda Gold, Crocadee, Exit Swinger, Exit To Wave, Frozen Groom, Killusty, Lady Cricket, Whitenzo, 40-1 Cenkos, Eskleybrook, Logician, (Others Upon Application)
2002 TOTE GOLD CUP: 6-1 Sackville, 8-1 Best Mate, 10-1 First Gold, Lord Noelie, Shooting Light, 11-1 Bacchanal, 12-1 Florida Pearl, Looks Like Trouble, 14-1 Behrajan, Marlborough, 16-1 Cyfor Malta, 20-1 Alexander Banquet, Foxchapel King, 25-1 Shotgun Willy, 33-1 Ad Hoc, Legal Right, Rinci Ri, See More Business, Sleeping Night, Whats Up Boys, 40-1 Commanche Court, Le Coudray, Kingsmark, Paris Pike, 50-1 Arctic Camper, Beau, Go Ballistic, Montifault, Native Upmanship, (Other Upon Application)
2002 JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE: 14-1 Londoner, Tempo D'or, 20-1 Green Ideal, Turtleback, 25-1 Le Roi Miguel, Newhall, Prizeman, Rigmarole, Scolardy, Sud Bleu, 33-1 Greenhope, Hyderabad, Kelami, Live The Dream, Lord Joshua, Riyadh, Trained Bythe Best, Vol Solitaire, (Others Upon Application)
2002 MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL: 20-1 Beau, Behrajan, Foxchapel King, Papillon, Paris Pike, Smarty, Supreme Glory, 25-1 Ad Hoc, Arctic Camper, Bindaree, Blowing Wind, Commanche Court, Davids Lad, Hati Roy, Kings Road, Kingsmark, Mely Moss, Whats Up Boys, 33-1 Amberleigh House, Moral Support, Red Marauder, Streamstown, Take Control, The Last Fling, (Others Upon Application)
BHB EXECUTIVE RESTRUCTURED-PETER SAVILL TO STAY AS BHB CHAIRMAN UNTIL 2004
As part of the previously announced Structure Review, and in the light of its increased commercial activities, the BHB has decided to revise its executive structure.
The role of Chairman will become non-executive following the appointment, in due course, of a full-time Chief Executive who is currently being recruited. BHB is also creating a new role of Managing Director, Commercial with the specific remit of managing the BHB's commercial activities. These activities will, in all probability, be conducted through a separate subsidiary company.
Given all the impending changes in the BHB's role including the transfer of Levy Board funding responsibilities and the introduction of commercial data licensing to replace the statutory levy, the Board confirms its full support for the current Chairman, Peter Savill, who has agreed to a further two-year term as Chairman when his present term expires in June 2002.
Although the role will initially be executive, it will become non-executive once the new Chief Executive is able to assume fully the responsibilities of the role.
The BHB is pleased to announce the appointment of Nigel Smith as Managing Director, Commercial effective immediately. Nigel (age 44) originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. As well as experience with new ventures, he has experience with major corporates such as Hilton Group, where he was Group Corporate Planning Manager, and the Storehouse Group where he was Commercial Director for Bhs. Most recently he was CEO of Whereits.at Entertainment Holdings plc.
Peter Savill said: "In order for the racing industry to flourish in the post-Levy era, it is vital that we build an executive team which can develop the strategy for the future and generate the income streams that will flow from the licensing of our rights. I have no doubt that Nigel will contribute strongly towards these objectives."
"Personally, I am delighted to extend my Chairmanship for a further two years to oversee this development as well as ensure that the right financial structure is put in place. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board to see that we achieve our goals".
The Executive team reporting to the Chief Executive is therefore now almost complete and will be:
Managing Director, Commercial Nigel Smith
Secretary-General Tristram Ricketts
Finance Director James Halley
Racing Director Trevor Beaumont
Marketing Director Being recruited
TOTE EXPLAINS REJECTION OF BHB COPYRIGHT FEE
The Tote today welcomed the opportunity to explain to the BHB Board the Tote's decision to reject the BHB's fees for data and pictures.
The Tote revealed that at the BHB's concessionary rate of 2% (plus VAT) of turnover, Tote Bookmakers' payment to Racing would have doubled to £5 million. At 2.5% (plus VAT) its contribution would increase to £6.3 million. Both sums would result in Tote Bookmakers making a substantial net loss on its horseracing turnover.
Tote Chief Executive John Heaton said:
"If horseracing margins continued at the level experienced since GPT was introduced, were we to pay the BHB's fees we would have no business. At 2% Tote Bookmakers would make an annual net loss on UK horseracing turnover of £5.3 million and at 2.5% the net loss would be approximately £6.6 million. At current margins the BHB's demands are completely untenable."
"Figures released to the press which claimed to demonstrate that the Tote would have an additional £5 million profit before costs were wrong. The Tote would not normally have responded on matters that it considers confidential but given the incorrect figures earlier circulated the Board agreed the unusual step of releasing more detailed information."
DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE ENQUIRIES AND AN APPEAL TO BE BE HEARD BY THE JOCKEY CLUB TOMORROW
9.15am Stephen Hunter and Michael Chapman
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry to establish whether Stephen Hunter, an apprentice jockey attached to Michael Chapman's yard, has committed a breach of Rule 153(iii) of the Rules of Racing, in the light of Instruction H9, headed 'Use of the Whip' concerning his use of the whip on La Perla, the winner of the betdirect.co.uk Selling Stakes on 17th December 2001. This matter was referred to the Stewards of the Jockey Club by the Southwell Stewards following their enquiry of the same day. They will also consider whether or not Michael Chapman, the trainer, has committed a breach of Instruction H9 concerning whether he gave adequate instructions, or instructions that, if obeyed, would or could lead to a violation of the Instruction.
11.30am Neil Pollard
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry to establish whether or not Neil Pollard, a licensed jockey, has committed a breach of Rule 66 (vi) of the Rules of Racing, in the light of paragraph 1.10 of the Jockey Club Protocol and Rules for the Testing of Riders for Banned Substances and Procedures for Notifiable Medications, in respect of his failure to provide a sample, having been requested to do so by an Independent Officer from UK Sport, on 31st July 2001.
Note: Neil Pollard was selected for random testing at York on 15th June 2001, but due to traffic problems, missed his intended ride, and did not attend the meeting.
2.00pm Russell Wilman / Lucayan Monarch
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will consider an appeal lodged by Russell Wilman, the trainer of Lucayan Monarch, against the decision of the Southwell Stewards on 21st December 2001 to find him in breach of Rule 155 (ii) and to fine him £2200. They also found Robert Fitzpatrick, the rider of Lucayan Monarch to be in breach of Rule 157 and suspended him from riding for fifteen days, and suspended Lucayan Monarch from running for 40 days.
Note: LUCAYAN MONARCH was placed third, beaten three lengths.
In Absence - Menin Muggeridge
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry to establish whether or not Menin Muggeridge, a licensed trainer, has committed breaches of Order 59 (i) of the Orders of the British Horseracing Board, concerning his failure to return to the Racing Calendar Office, by the date stipulated on the forms, his Horses in Training Returns for the months of August, September and November 2001.
Note: Menin Muggeridge has recently since relinquished his licence.
In Absence - Andrew Irish
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry into whether or not Andrew Irish, a former Registered Owner, has committed a breach of Rule 201 (vi) with regard to his conviction at Basildon Crown Court in February 2001 on one count of conspiracy to defraud.
In Absence - Mrs Lydia Pearce / Prospectors Coral
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry into a report that Prospectors Coral, trained by Mrs Lydia Pearce, failed a Starting Stalls Test at Wolverhampton on 15th December 2001, having failed a similar test at Wolverhampton on 21st November 2001.
In Absence - John Quinn / En El Em
The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, on 10th January 2002, will hold an enquiry into En El Em (ire), trained by John Quinn, which was referred to the Stewards of the Jockey Club following a report from the Sedgefield stewards on 18th September 2001 that the horse was unruly at the start.
COLE THREE-PRONGED IN randombet.com LINCOLN
Oxfordshire-based trainer Paul Cole, who has won three of the last five runnings of the randombet.com Lincoln, accounts for three of the huge 111-strong entry revealed today for this year's race, which will be worth £75,000 - an increase of £25,000 on last year's total.
The number of entries has only been bettered once in the last six years for the famous mile handicap, run at Doncaster on Saturday, March 23.
Cole's trio comprises last year's winner Nimello, The Judge, a lightly-raced four-year-old who finished fourth in a 27-runner field on his handicap debut at York in October, and Inspector General, winner of a seven-furlong classified stakes at Haydock in June.
Indeed last year's race is well represented with Highland Reel (2nd in 2001), King Priam (3rd), Pulau Tioman (5th) and Swan Knight (6th) all entered.
Last season's Tote Cambridgeshire winner I Cried For You could bid to start the turf Flat season with another big handicap success for trainer James Given, who is appropriately based in Lincolnshire.
"We are keeping our options open and haven't decided anything," said Given. "He's a possible for the Lincoln. I had him in the race last year, but he didn't come to hand in time - he sometimes wants it a bit warmer - and he might also go for the Winter Derby at Lingfield.
"He definitely won't go to Wolverhampton for the Lincoln Trial, as the last time he ran on that surface he hated the sand.
"The ground is often quite slow for the Lincoln and I had it in my mind that he was a seven-furlong to a mile horse, but it now looks like his trip is nine furlongs and upwards and so a slowish mile at Doncaster should not be a problem for him."
There are two Irish-trained entries - Montpelier Street, from Tom Cooper's stable, and One More Round, successful on two of his four starts for Dermot Weld.
The randombet.com Lincoln is always one of the year's top betting events and the ante-post markets will be launched when the weights are announced on Wednesday, January 16.
The randombet.com is always hugely popular and for those that fail to make the big-race line-up there will again be a consolation race at Doncaster on Friday, March 22. There will also be a public draw for stall positions in the big race on Thursday, March 21.
THE randombet.com LINCOLN
Showcase Handicap Class B £75,000 added, one mile, Doncaster, Saturday, March 23, 2002. For 4yo+. Weights: Lowest weight 7st 10lb. Highest weight not less than 9st 10lb. Any horse rated above 110 shall initially be treated as having that rating and the highest weight allotted shall be 9st 10lb. Subsequently, the excess over 110 in any rating shall be added to that horse without limitation to the highest weight to be carried. Penalties: after January 12th a winner of a race value £5,000 5lb. Entries closed Wednesday, January 2, entries revealed Wednesday, January 9 (111 entries), weights revealed Wednesday, January 16, first confirmation stage January 22, second confirmation stage March 5, five-day confirmation stage March 18, final declaration stage 10.15am March 21. Horses eliminated at the 48-hour declaration stage may be nominated for the randombet.com Spring Mile on Friday, March 22, 2002. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, January 7, 2002. May not include some overseas form.
431(2)- ADIEMUS 4 G Lansbury Jeremy Noseda
506152- ALBASHOOSH 4 W. M. Johnstone Jim Goldie
0520- ANNABELLE 4 S. Fustok Chris Wall
613003- ARPEGGIO 7 H.E. Lhendup Dorji David Nicholls
0/(3)(0)131- ATLANTIC ACE 5 Richard Page Bryan Smart
060000- ATTACHE 4 John Good Lynda Ramsden
120250- BANJO BAY (IRE) 4 Mrs C. P. Lees-Jones Bryan McMahon
010(0)(0)(6)- BOLD EWAR (IRE) 5 Tony Richards Clive Brittain
645022- BOLD RAIDER 5 The Farleigh Court Racing Partnership Ian Balding
00/0600- BOMB ALASKA 7 Bridget Swire Toby Balding
006(1)(4)(5)- BOND MILLENNIUM 4 R. C. Bond Bryan Smart
101206- BRIGHT SPARK (IRE) 5 David Nicholls David Nicholls
055145- CALCUTTA 6 Catherine Corbett & Chris Wright Barry Hills
0/10- CAMARADE (IRE) 4 Ian Crawford Ian Semple
(P)320(2)(0)- CANCUN CARIBE (IRE) 5 Michael Keogh Kevin McAuliffe
340100- CARDINAL VENTURE (IRE) 4 Tony Fawcett Kevin Ryan
(1)(2)2060- CHAMPAGNE RIDER 6 Highgrove Developments Limited Kevin McAuliffe
02220(6)- CORK HARBOUR (FR) 6 M. A. Ingram and G. D. W. Swire Dina Smith
33160(0)- CULZEAN (IRE) 6 Stonethorn Stud Farms Limited Richard Hannon
6413- DANELOR (IRE) 4 Littleton Manor Racing Ed Dunlop
3/121//- DATE 6 Nathan Rossiter Nathan Rossiter
500560- DAYGLOW DANCER 4 Surrey Laminators Ltd Mick Channon
511(0)(1)(6)- DECEITFUL 4 Waterline Racing Club David Evans
031000- DIGITAL 5 Bill Wightman Mick Channon
302124- DREAM MAGIC 4 P. E. Axon Mick Ryan
003000- DUKE OF MODENA 5 Bridget Swire Toby Balding
(0)60000- EAGLET (IRE) 4 Andy Scott Andy Scott
000350- ESPADA (IRE) 6 Janis MacPherson Jeremy Glover
310100- EXEAT (USA) 6 W. M. Johnstone Jim Goldie
010110- FAITHFUL WARRIOR (USA) 4 Mohamed Obaida Barry Hills
612040- FINISHED ARTICLE (IRE) 5 The Caledonian Racing Society David Elsworth
1(2)(3)(1)(0)-(4) FIRST MAITE 9 Roy Bowring Roy Bowring
002100- FREE WILL 5 A & J Scott Ltd Andy Scott
3630/23- GILDED DANCER 4 Perspicacious Punters Racing Club William Muir
00/3060- GUDLAGE (USA) 6 Lord Daresbury Mick Easterby
00606(0)- HAREWOOD END 4 John Sinclair (Haulage) Ltd Andy Crook
003006- HIGHLAND REEL 5 Sir Gordon Brunton David Elsworth
420215- I CRIED FOR YOU (IRE) 7 One Stop Partnership James Given
041435- IMPERIAL DANCER 4 Imperial Racing Mick Channon
313220- INDIAN PLUME 6 E & S Racing Terry Mills
000(6)- INNOCENT (IRE) 4 Patsy Byrne Jamie Osborne
015600- INSPECTOR GENERAL (IRE) 4 The Blenheim Partnership Paul Cole
40(0)(4)(0)(0)- INVADER 6 R. J. Swinbourne Clive Brittain
050(0)(3)(2)- IRVINGTON (IRE) 4 J. A. Lazzari Richard Hannon
021- ISLAND LIGHT 4 Gibson, Goddard, Hamer & Hawkes Alec Stewart
40(1)(4)0(0)- IZZET MUZZY (FR) 4 Century Racing Russell Wilman
066000- J R STEVENSON (USA) 6 Claret & Blue Army Paul Webber
003000- KID'Z'PLAY (IRE) 6 Liam McGuigan Jim Goldie
(3)(4)(3)-(2)(6)(3) KING PRIAM (IRE) 7 Mark Lewis Mark Polglase
620306- KINGSDON (IRE) 5 Mike Browne Jimmy FitzGerald
000000- LABRETT 5 Mrs E. A. Lerpiniere Brian Meehan
64(4)(1)(3)(4)- LADY BEAR (IRE) 4 A. & K. Lingerie Richard Fahey
03300(0)- LADY BOXER 6 Esprit de Corps Racing Michael Mullineaux
601060- LOOKING FOR LOVE (IRE) 4 Out To Grass Partnership Jonny Portman
(1)32620- LORD PROTECTOR (IRE) 4 Derrick Broomfield David Arbuthnot
060050- LOST AT SEA (IRE) 4 David Morgan Karl Burke
11200(0)- LOTS OF LOVE (USA) 4 Mick Doyle Mark Johnston
314260- MAMORE GAP (IRE) 4 The South-Western Partnership II Richard Hannon
04013(0)- MANA-MOU BAY (IRE) 5 David Nicholls David Nicholls
500000- MELODIAN 7 Mel Brittain Mel Brittain
(6)2(2)(1)(1)(1)- MIDSHIPMAN 4 Hethersett Racing Paul D'Arcy
500500- MILLENIUM MOONBEAM (USA) 5 Mr & Mrs John Harris George Margarson
331203- MILLENNIUM FORCE 4 A. Merza Mick Channon
000305- MISTER RAMBO 7 Middleham Park Racing XXV David Nicholls
002222- MONTPELIER STREET (IRE) 5 P. Boland Tom Cooper IRE
0(1)(2)(4)(1)(1)- MUTAWAQED (IRE) 4 Eastwind Racing Ltd David Arbuthnot
210400- MY LUCY LOCKET (IRE) 4 Mrs H. F. Prendergast Richard Hannon
(4)0(1)(3)(1)-(1) MY RETREAT (USA) 5 J. and J. Hunter Ian Semple
010200- NASHAAB (USA) 5 M. W. Lawrence David Evans
1050(0)(0)- NIGRASINE 8 Sunpak Potatoes Les Eyre
(1)11003- NIMELLO (USA) 6 C. Shiacolas Paul Cole
543000- NOBLE PURSUIT 5 Stephanie Merrydew Terry Mills
154460- NORTON (IRE) 5 Terry Mills Terry Mills
0010(2)(0)- NOSE THE TRADE 4 Martyn Booth Jamie Osborne
0/20000- NOTHING DAUNTED 5 J. H. Knight Derek Shaw
6114- ONE MORE ROUND (USA) 4 Dr Michael Smurfit Dermot Weld IRE
42064(0)- PERSUADE 4 Littleton Manor Racing Ray White
4/31- PIETRO SIENA (USA) 4 Maktoum Al Maktoum Ed Dunlop
(0)(3)(1)(0)(4)(1)- PRETRAIL (IRE) 5 Terry Miller & Sandycove Partnership Paul D'Arcy
521104- PULAU TIOMAN 6 H.R.H. Sultan Ahmad Shah Michael Jarvis
010403- PUTRA PEKAN 4 H.R.H. Sultan Ahmad Shah Michael Jarvis
24/4//000- RIDGEWAY (IRE) 7 Mrs M. E. Curtis Mick Easterby
333430- ROOFER (IRE) 4 Pine Crest Racing Rod Millman
0000(4)(0)- SALTY JACK (IRE) 8 Salts Of The Earth David Elsworth
063050- SARRAAF (IRE) 6 Gordon McDowall Ian Semple
221134- SCOTTY'S FUTURE (IRE) 4 Lucayan Stud David Nicholls
4260(0)(0)- SLUMBERING (IRE) 6 Christine Painting Brian Pearce
012422- SMIRK 4 Michael Tabor David Elsworth
004510- SOLLER BAY 5 Melba Bryce Karl Burke
1/50- SULTAN GAMAL 4 G. S. D. Imports Ltd Bryan McMahon
(5)(2)(0)000- SWAN KNIGHT (USA) 6 Littleton Manor Racing Ray White
502005- SWYNFORD PLEASURE 6 Qualitair Holdings Limited James Hetherton
0450(0)(3)- SWYNFORD WELCOME 6 Qualitair Holdings Limited Ian Wood
006050- SYLVA STORM (USA) 4 Peter Head Racing Limited Clive Brittain
022/0- TAABEER 4 Hamdan Al Maktoum Ed Dunlop
00/0505- TACTFUL REMARK (USA) 6 Dr D. B. A. & Mrs Heather Silk Jamie Osborne
620(5)(4)(2)- TARBOUSH 5 Gallagher Equine Ltd Neville Callaghan
0/313- THE JUDGE 4 Catherine Corbett & Chris Wright Paul Cole
645522- THIHN (IRE) 7 The Square Milers John Spearing
146/001- TIME TO REMEMBER (IRE) 4 Reg Griffin and Jim McGrath Tim Easterby
(0)2410-(0) TING (IRE) 5 Paul Dixon Mark Polglase
210300- TONY TIE 6 Frank Brady Jim Goldie
00(0)(0)(5)(5)- TOPTON (IRE) 8 Liam Sheridan Paul Howling
104020- TROUBLE MOUNTAIN (USA) 5 Jean Turpin Mick Easterby
000060- TRUE NIGHT 5 Henry Rix David Nicholls
113000- UHOOMAGOO 4 Platinum Racing Club Limited Kevin Ryan
0/150- VALEUREUX 4 Eureka Racing James Hetherton
051036- WAHJ (IRE) 7 S B Components (International) Ltd Chris Dwyer
632210- WELSH WIND (IRE) 6 D. Hassan Michael Wigham
20(3)(0)(2)(3)- YORKER (USA) 4 Michael Scott James Eustace
6/23610- ZUCCHERO 6 Philip Banfield David Arbuthnot
OLDREY DEFENDS BREEDERS' PRIZES
The provision of prizes to breeders was strongly defended by David Oldrey, President of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, at the trade body's Annual Awards' Dinner at the Churchill Hotel in London last night.
The subject has provoked strong debate in the racing press in recent weeks and Oldrey said: "Breeders' prizes have come under attack recently on assorted grounds, none of which seem to me to make much sense.
"Because only useful horses can win them (at least on the Flat) and because they go a little way to balancing up for the advantages of the lenient Irish tax regime, they seem to me extremely constructive.
"It is nonsense to suggest that the cash would do more good if switched to prize money. Converting the entire scheme into prize money would produce almost exactly £100 in cash in the pocket of each winning owner across the season. What difference apart from an extra bottle to celebrate would that make to anyone's decisions?"
On a different subject, Oldrey added that he wanted the National Stud to continue in its present guise and stated: "On the National Stud, this Association is solidly behind achieving continuity.
"With some of the wilder ideas for change seeming to have withered on the vine, perhaps we can now concentrate on supporting a practical future for such a worthwhile institution - one which builds on extending public involvement in what could be a wonderful showcase for Racing, together with developing its unique contribution to training staff to the highest standards, as well as the more traditional roles of a stallion stud."
Another topic raised was a need to review the European Flat Pattern system given the proliferation of top-class horses in Britain and Ireland.
Oldrey added: "The quality of the best racing on the Flat has been remarkable, with more good horses about here or in Ireland than I can remember- or indeed may ever have raced in a single season. Maybe the best horse would not have beaten Sea Bird but the 100th best would surely have seen off his own equivalent from any other period.
"The relative strength of the horse population in these islands, in terms of their ratings by comparison with mainland Europe, is certainly greater than any time since the War. Indeed this is so marked a factor nowadays that it is posing real problems to the stability of the European Flat Pattern which, one way or another, will eventually have to be addressed."
The Guest of Honour, Peter Savill, Chairman of the British Horseracing Board, delivered a strong speech which is also to be found below.
TBA DINNER 2002, TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2002
SPEECH BY DAVID OLDREY, PRESIDENT OF THE TBA
Guest of Honour, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the TBA annual dinner. Sadly, for the first time for several years, I fear you will have to do without any slightly risqué tales of my distinguished predecessor's experiences in the hunting field. Although departing from this precedent, at least the membership was consistent in one way when appointing me to succeed Sir Michael- we are both deaf in more or less equal measure.
This can be a great advantage during some of the duller passages of Racing politics- one click for each ear equals blessed, if temporary, peace. Our joint deficiency can have its funny side too, as I am sure Michael will confirm.
For instance I well remember ringing the present Senior Steward on some vexed point for a pre-arranged talk one Sunday morning only to be told by his wife Susan that he had in fact decided to go and see "your good friend Sir Eric". Given that the vexed question had little to do with Sir Eric Parker, then President of the ROA, I was left in a state of some puzzlement. Anyway, eventually he rang back, and then dissolved into guffaws of less than polite laughter when I asked after Eric's wellbeing- in fact he had been to feed a carrot to his Gold Cup hero Celeric. No doubt the old horse appreciated the carrot better than Eric would have done.
On a very different note, the TBA lost a great supporter last year with the untimely death of Lord Carnavon, former President and Chairman for many years. Racing and breeding in general (and this Association in particular) stand greatly in his debt. It was indeed sad that he should have not lived to see the countryside, in which he took such interest, released from the grip of Foot and Mouth or the long overdue settlement of Racing's finances on a satisfactory basis, despite his valiant efforts in and out of Parliament for at least the last 40 years.
In many ways it has been a difficult year for breeders as most of us are more or less part of a rural Britain which is under unparalleled pressure. Foot and Mouth, BSE, the generally depressed state of farming and the threat to the future of hunting have all conspired to depress the spirits. National Hunt racing (and therefore breeding) has suffered all round and the loss of the heart of the season to a combination of Foot and Mouth and the weather has posed some serious problems for all involved. As they say, things can only get better- indeed they are doing so.
There is a rather cynical old farming saying "Up corn, down horn", (or maybe it is the other way round but that doesn't matter). Certainly, put this way round, the Flat has represented the corn of the saying for the past year and had much the happier run in 2001. The quality of the best racing on the Flat has been remarkable, with more good horses about here or in Ireland than I can remember- or indeed may ever have raced in a single season. Maybe the best horse would not have beaten Sea Bird but the 100th best would surely have seen off his own equivalent from any other period. The relative strength of the horse population in these islands, in terms of their ratings by comparison with mainland Europe, is certainly greater than any time since the War. Indeed this is so marked a factor nowadays that it is posing real problems to the stability of the European Flat Pattern which, one way or another, will eventually have to be addressed.
At the same time the strength of the foal sales seemed to defy gravity when compared to prize money levels here and the problems with which most of the major economies around the world are beset.
I suspect our foal market must, to some degree, be reflecting the progress already achieved on the prize money front in Ireland and the hopes for a major and imminent breakthrough here based on unfolding events on Racing's political stage. The switch in betting taxation from punters to bookmakers, the looming transfer of the Levy Board's power to the BHB and the consequential chance, at long last, to move to a proper commercial relationship between Racing and Betting, offer real hopes of dramatic change for the better. However, it would be silly for me to touch on such things in any detail in view of our choice as Guest of Honour- why listen to the views of the monkey when the organ grinder has come to dinner?
That said, I would like to cover briefly three subjects in the politics arena, which are of particular interest to this Association, Breeders' Prizes, representation on the BHB and The National Stud.
1) Breeders' prizes have come under attack recently on assorted grounds, none of which seem to me to make much sense. Because only useful horses can win them (at least on the Flat) and because they go a little way to balancing up for the advantages of the lenient Irish tax regime, they seem to me extremely constructive. It is nonsense to suggest that the cash would do more good if switched to prize money. Converting the entire scheme into prize money would produce almost exactly £100 in cash in the pocket of each winning owner across the season. What difference apart from an extra bottle to celebrate would that make to anyone's decisions? Per contra, I was mistaken enough to sell a yearling I disliked a few years back for something under £10,000. Since then the horse has won me 11 Breeders' prizes worth in all roughly double his sale price. No doubt it was the reward for luck rather than judgement that he went to a good trainer, but what sport and encouragement one gets out of such events. They do far more for the stock of human happiness (and consequent activity) than can possibly be balanced by a piffling £100 a race to winning owners- about 3 days training costs.
2) On the hot topic of this Association's seat on the BHB, I will only say this - I can confirm by direct observation from my different perch in the boardroom that the Association's Chairman, Nigel Elwes, has occupied our seat since its creation in a particularly non-sectarian way, as the TBA would surely wish. He has always seemed to me to steer his course with a view to the general good of Racing rather than any narrow concept of breeders' immediate interests. Surely that is as it should be. No change which could come out of a structure review designed to restrict sectarianism could possibly make much sense if it undermined the position about the least sectarian grouping of the lot.
3) Finally, on the National Stud, this Association is solidly behind achieving continuity. With some of the wilder ideas for change seeming to have withered on the vine, perhaps we can now concentrate on supporting a practical future for such a worthwhile institution- one which builds on extending public involvement in what could be a wonderful showcase for Racing, together with developing its unique contribution to training staff to the highest standards, as well as the more traditional roles of a stallion stud.
I think it is now time for the monkey to cease chattering but before handing over to our Guest of Honour, I would like to thank Peter on your behalf. Our thanks are due primarily for his remarkably successful efforts both in raising our sights and at the same time creating realistic opportunities to hit some of the more demanding targets he has identified. For his next trick, he will need to convert more of these opportunities into goals. I believe he will have support from us all in taking the necessary, but also difficult, steps needed to put Racing's ball in Betting's net on fair and proper terms whilst playing more or less according to the rules of the game.
TBA AWARDS DINNER SPEECH, 8th January 2002, PETER SAVILL, CHAIRMAN OF THE BRITISH HORSERACING BOARD, THE GUEST OF HONOUR
Mr Chairman, President, my Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen. We've come a long way these past four years. It was in this very week in 1998 that the British Racing industry set out on the path towards a new financial structure where it could control its own destiny and shape its own future.
The launch of the Financial Plan for British Racing was a watershed. It marked the first time that we clearly identified the cause of our industry's financial difficulties and the steps needed to solve those problems.
The main cause stood out like a sore thumb: while other countries were getting between 5%-15% of betting turnover back into the sport, we were getting a paltry 1.2%. Look no further for why owners lose 80% of their money; why the training profession barely breaks even; why most breeders do it for love rather than money; why racecourses get a return on the value of their assets of less than 1.5%; and why many stable lads earn less than an unskilled agricultural worker.
For British Racing carries the stamp of many traditional British businesses a great product but not enough money to invest in the business, not enough income to hire the right people; not enough revenue to market the product. And so, a business living on its history and tradition, relying on a long-established brand name while being overtaken by its younger, better-financed competitors who copy the product as best they can but improve the financial structure by changing the model.
The Financial Plan laid out the steps that were needed to restructure our industry. It called for the abolition of the levy, and its replacement with a purely commercial relationship between racing and betting. It called for the transfer of the Tote to racing. It called for a more equitable distribution of money between Government, bookmakers, punters and racing. And it called for racecourses to be allowed to develop their betting and gaming facilities on non-racedays.
All four goals required the help and support of Government and all four, in principle, have been achieved. It speaks volumes for the clarity and strength of our arguments but the Government also deserves our eternal gratitude for its grasp of the issues and its willingness to provide us with the environment for change.
Since 3 March 2000, when the decision to abolish the Levy and transfer the Tote to a Racing Trust were announced, the ball has been very much in our court. So far we have responded to the challenge, albeit with the anticipated hiccups that come with radical change. We have identified a clear commercial mechanism of pictures and data, which has received Government endorsement as the way forward; we have finalised the Go Racing deal; and, most importantly, we have agreed the Future Funding Plan as the way to bring our industry together with a clear agreement on the licensing of our rights and the division of our income. June 21st 2001 was indeed an historic day which I personally shall never forget. It is hard to admit that winning the Gold Cup in the afternoon with Royal Rebel was actually eclipsed by the satisfaction of concluding both the Go Racing Contract and the Future Funding Plan later that night, but it's true. The Go Racing contract was the most complex, difficult and demanding negotiation I have ever been involved with, but it was the unique achievement of crafting an agreement between the many sectors of our industry, the Future Funding Plan, that gave me the greatest pleasure of all that day.
Since that date, the atmosphere within racing has changed out of all recognition. I believe that we are finally and truly one industry and I do not think you will ever again see the sort of infighting that had hindered our progress since time immemorial.
Outsiders of course think the racing industry is currently going through its most divisive era of all but only because outsiders make the grave mistake of believing that the betting industry is part of the racing industry.
It is no more part of our industry than it is part of the Premier League. It is a distributor of our product, sadly still our only retail distributor, but with the development of new media such as the internet and interactivity, a distributor finally getting some competition.
The betting industry has one objective to increase the profit it makes from its customers. The definition of profit is the "excess of revenues over outlays and expenses". In other words, maximise your income and minimise your costs". Picture and data charges, and also the Levy, are costs to be minimised by the betting industry which means that the goals of racing and betting could not be further apart. Let no-one in Racing forget that fact.
The past twenty months have seen the betting industry in its true colours. First, it refused to make a single proposal as to how the levy should be replaced with a commercial mechanism. Then, it complained that BHB's proposals were flawed despite the fact that BHB's proposed commercial mechanism was the continuation of simulcasting to betting shops, a system that has been operated and effectively controlled by William Hill and Ladbrokes through SIS since the introduction of live pictures in 1987. But we proposed one major change. We proposed that we cut out the middleman, SIS, which had been making £30 million profit a year on turnover of £60 million, and sell our rights direct to bookmakers.
No wonder Hills and Ladbrokes didn't like it. They own nearly half of SIS. For forty years, through the Levy and SIS, they and others have controlled our industry. Those days are now ended and we will decide the price of our product from 1st May 2002 when the RCA/SIS contract ends.
The current battle, being fought tooth and nail by the bookmakers, is about who controls the price of British Racing. The Levy system allowed them to control us through the Bookmakers' Committee. Now they want to control us through the Confederation of Bookmakers Association. "Come and negotiate with us. We're reasonable people. We want to see you all right. Trust us" they say.
But what they've really been saying the past six months to themselves is "We must keep control of the price and, if we all say we won't accept their 2%, they'll lose their nerve, rush to the negotiating table and then we can tell them what we're prepared to pay and how we're prepared to pay it". In other words, the bookmakers would still control the price and there wouldn't even be statutory backing to force us to pay it.
Are we going to blow the opportunity to change the financial health of British Racing for the third time, having already blown it in 1961 and 1987? Have we got the bottle to stand firm this time? I hope so. For we have a good case and a strong hand.
Let me explain first why we have such a good case to support our charging structure. First, international simulcasting rates are generally 3% of turnover, but they can go as high as 9% depending on the quality of the race. We have been looking to charge just 2% for the first two years, rising to 2 ½ % in 2004.
Second, the betting industry are being given a tax cut of around £250 million by Government with the introduction of GPT, which has reduced the effective rate of tax from 6.75% to around 2%. They have spent 35 years telling us that they could not afford to pay racing more because their tax burden was so onerous; now that tax burden has been reduced dramatically, and they still want to pay no more than a pittance.
Third, the rate of 2% leaves bookmakers' profitability from British Racing between 10-20% higher. So where is the justification for the claim that they can't afford it?
Finally, let's look at the charges for British racing compared to the charges for other betting products. William Hill and Ladbrokes did not complain when SIS set the price at £4,500 for greyhounds, numbers and foreign horseracing representing just 25% of bookmaker turnover.
But they all screamed the house down when we set the price to small bookmakers at £3,000 for 65% of their turnover. Don't tell me their objections to our pricing structure are based on commercial grounds. They are based solely on trying to pay as little as possible and keep control of the price.
Now, let's look at the strength of the hand we have to play in the coming poker game with the bookmakers. We expect a favourable levy settlement in a couple of weeks' time from the Government, many millions better than ever before. That would be the first blow for the bookmakers.
Then, they will have to decide whether to sign a BHB Data Licence or not by 1st May because, if they don't, they will be in breach of the current law of the land when they use BHB data. And we will not hesitate to take out injunctions to protect our assets.
They will also be faced with the fact that they will not be entitled to an offset of commercial charges against the Levy if they don't have a Data Licence in place. In other words, they could finish up paying twice, to us and to the Levy.
Of course, they could tell their customers that they won't take bets on British Racing but that wouldn't do much for their customer relations.
These are all hard decisions that bookmakers, including the Tote, will need to make in the next few months. They had the chance to take advantage of our concessionary rates but many decided not to do so. Let them now decide whether they intend to operate without a BHB Licence and whether they are willing to pay twice for the product.
We have decided our rates and have no further decisions to make. We will continue to respond to enquiries from bookmakers; continue to offer licences for our picture and data on an open, non-discriminatory basis at the rates we have established; and continue to pursue all unauthorised use of our rights. That is the strategy I recommend between now and May.
I have little doubt that those who depend for their livelihood on racing support this position to the hilt. I have taken time to canvass many opinions and I have never known this industry so adamant that the betting industry must finally pay a proper price for the product.
But I must warn you. The betting industry has already targeted one or two people in authority whom they believe will come to their rescue and force us to negotiate with the Confederation of Bookmaker Associations. People who have, in subtle ways, already indicated that they are willing to wave the white flag as their knees turn to jelly at the very thought of standing firm.
I have a message for those few. Do not even think of subverting the democratic process as has happened in the past. Decisions on such important issues will not be made without the widest consultation of those who depend on British Racing for their livelihoods and those who have a substantial investment in our sport.
For those who still think that we should be sitting down and negotiating as one industry to the other with the CBA, I ask you to bear in mind the following points:
First, the CBA cannot bind anyone in the post-levy era, unlike the Bookmakers' Committee under the Levy statute. So, why would we support the abolition of the Levy in order to replace it with the same negotiating structure, but without the statutory backing?
Second, I have no doubt that to negotiate with the CBA would be to give up our right to establish the price of our product and hand control of our industry straight back to the bookmakers.
And finally, bear in mind that the bookmakers are a group with only one common thread between large and small to keep the price of British Racing to a minimum.
Apart from that common goal, they are about as disunited as British Racing was before we agreed the Future Funding Plan. The small bookmakers want their pictures charged on a percentage of turnover; the big ones want pictures divided equally between all bookmakers so that the burden falls mainly on the small bookie with the lowest turnover. The only way to reach agreement with a body comprising two opposing schools of thought is to give them a deal which satisfies both schools but doesn't satisfy our own side.
There are two other issues about which I would like to talk briefly the Tote, and the state of the British Breeding Industry.
My views on the Tote's decision to boycott BHB's concessionary rates have been well aired. They were only aired because the Tote Chairman, for reasons known only to himself, decided voluntarily to announce to the world that the Tote had rejected BHB's rates. This was extremely damaging to racing's cause and it must surely have been obvious that it would be. I have asked Peter Jones to come to the BHB Board tomorrow afternoon where he will be asked to explain both the decision and the announcement of that decision.
I apologise to those who may have hoped that I would speak primarily about the state of the British Breeding Industry but I took the view that the most important issue for the British Breeding Industry at present is the financial health of British Racing.
I am very confident that we will have considerably more money available in the next few years and the challenge will be to spend it wisely. An important clause in the Future Funding Plan states that 30% of BHB's 20% share of incremental income will be spent on "purposes which directly benefit racehorse owners and/or breeders, whether through appearance money, prize money, owners' premiums, or breeders' prizes".
There is no doubt that we must urgently address the unlevel breeding fields of both Ireland and France and I see it as a priority for the BHB to introduce a meaningful programme of owners and breeders' premiums for British-bred horses along the basic lines of the successful French and Australian schemes. I look forward to the TBA playing its part in the development of this scheme.
Much has been said about breeders' prizes in the past two months. I will not fuel the debate other than to say that unless a scheme has a substantial fund attaching to it, it's not worth arguing about one way or the other. The ultimate goal of British breeders must be to raise the demand for British bloodstock and the best way to do that is for us to incentivise people to breed British and to buy British in the sale ring.
As a small breeder myself, I have much sympathy with Tony Morris's views on the over-use of stallions, despite the fact that he was the author of the immortal headline "SAD, MAD, BAD" when Celtic Swing was rerouted from Epsom to Chantilly. The covering situation is getting so out of hand that the worry has moved from "Will there be a hundred other yearlings by Rampant at the October yearling sales?" to "Will this stallion have the time to cover my mare so that I can become the seller of one the hundred other yearlings by Rampant at the October yearling sales?"
Perhaps reality is just beginning to sink in. It is interesting that, although Spectrum finished top of the list of 2nd Season Stallions in Europe and sired a Classic winner in only his second crop, many people think that the jury is still out on whether he can be regarded as a successful sire. Covering 219 mares last year, a strike rate of winners to runners of just over 30% and only Golan of real note from 117 runners in Europe in 2001 can hardly inspire confidence that the near £4milllion spent by mare owners on him in 2001 was money well spent.
There is still much work to be done at BHB. We need to build a first-class executive team to drive the strategy for the industry; we need a more streamlined Board with more independents and less sectionalism; we need favourable rulings from the OFT and ECJ; we need courage and we need support.
When the new commercial structure is in place, we will need to look at the product we are offering and how we are marketing it; we need to expand Sunday racing further and we need to attract many more to work in the industry.
But in the short-term, we need to implement our commercial terms and policies despite the desperate attempts of the betting industry to thwart us by using every trick in the book.
It is perhaps a sign that we are winning when it seems the only tactic of the other side is to try to drive us into submission with litigation and poison pen letters to sectors of our own industry.
The next few months will not be easy for us but I am confident that we will win if everyone holds their nerve and stays firm of purpose and strong of will.
When we reflect at next year's TBA Dinner, I suspect the battle about the price of the product will seem a distant issue, as the Go Racing contract does now.
Let no-one misconstrue my firmness for antagonism. I am fully committed to working with the betting industry and forging closer ties and friendships but it must be on our commercial terms. We will not be bludgeoned into submission by either financial muscle or legal maneouvering. Nor will we give up our right, in the commercial world, to establish the basis on which we license our rights to bookmakers or the price we charge for those rights.
When the betting industry finally appreciates that that is our creed and that it is sacrosanct, then we can start to look forward to the day that Warwick Bartlett or John Brown might experience the honour I have felt tonight to be your Guest of Honour.
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink