Philip Freedman is to take up the chairmanship of the British European Breeders’ Fund, succeeding the outgoing chairman David Brown who will remain as a Trustee.
Freedman has been a Trustee of the BEBF for the past five years in his capacity as Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, a role he relinquished last month.
He has enjoyed success at the highest level both as an owner and breeder with the home-bred mare Fraulein, winner of the 2002 Grade One E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in Canada, while his father Louis Freedman famously owned the 1987 Derby winner Reference Point.
Freedman commented: “I’m really looking forward to this fresh challenge. The BEBF is in a great position thanks to all the good work that David Brown and Sam Sheppard have done.
“Due to the sound financial foundation, we have been able to increase prize money significantly for two-year-old races this year and I hope that the stallion market remains sufficiently robust to enable us to keep paying out these sorts of levels in the future.
“I am really looking forward to being able to spend more time on the racecourse and attending as many as possible of the feature days when the BEBF is sponsoring.
“David has done a fine job and Sam has also stepped down from his full-time executive role, having achieved a huge amount for the European Breeders’ Fund and also for the BEBF.
“In particular, I would highlight Sam’s role in negotiating the Cross Registration and Common Fund Agreements with America, which has been a significant boost to European racing.”
Brown, the former England and Warwickshire cricketer who owns Furnace Mill Stud in Worcestershire, steps down after a successful four-year chairmanship and he is pleased to see Freedman take up the reins.
Speaking of his successor, Brown said: “I think Philip is the ideal man to do the job.
“He has a long background in the breeding industry, the racing industry and race planning and I do not think anyone could have more qualifications to do the job.
“I believe that the BEBF is in incredibly safe hands.”
Brown, who enjoyed Royal Ascot success with his home-bred sprinter Bolshoi in the 1998 King’s Stand Stakes, has had an 11-year involvement with the BEBF so far.
Reflecting on his chairmanship of the BEBF, Brown commented: “The most important developments are actually happening as we speak, specifically the increase of around £250,000 to the prize fund for two-year-old maiden races, which is a massive boost.
“We felt that the best way we could support British breeders was to encourage owners by increasing prize money, in the hope that it would not only keep owners but attract fresh ones.
“It is so vital that everyone in British racing attempts, however they can, to promote British bloodstock.
“We do lose owners because of the prize money levels and I think that it is important to increase prize money. It is a massive boost that the BEBF, via the contributions from stallion owners, can contribute so much.
“The progress we have made at the BEBF, whereby now we are contributing so much extra money, is a culmination of the work we have done during my tenure as chairman.”
Since 1996, 97.4 per cent of all two-year-olds in training in Britain have been eligible to run in EBF races and Brown has overseen the implementation of more equitable distribution of prize money to EBF-qualified juvenile maiden contests.
He said: “One of the things that I would have to say was a pretty big step concerned two-year-old maiden races. Quite a lot of maiden races used to be run with EBF conditions, but without EBF contributions.
“That has now ceased and I think that is a very good thing. Now, if a two-year-old maiden race has EBF conditions it definitely has EBF prize money. I think that will please a lot of the trainers who, in many ways, had a justifiable point that they were complying with conditions without getting prize money.
“Also, the EBF has decided that countries now make a payment to other countries where horses that they have bred eventually run.
“This means that we should be getting some additional money from Ireland as they are the biggest producers and we have a lot of Irish bred horses running in Britain.
“That will give us an increased income that will go towards the prize money fund. Being part of brokering that deal was very satisfying.”
Allocations made by the BEBF to two-year-old maiden, novice and median auction maiden races rose from £296,605 in 2006 to £552,555 last year.
The BEBF is one of the biggest financial contributors to British horseracing and has boosted its overall financial contribution to Flat and National Hunt racing, with the prize money input last year reaching £1,058,305 from £845,905 in 2006.
The BEBF continues to be one of the biggest supporters of British racing and will contribute EBF prize money to over 400 Flat races in 2008 as well as 90 National Hunt contests in the 2008/2009 season.
Sam Sheppard has retired as Chief Executive, having stepped down on January 1, but he remains involved with the organisation on a consultancy capacity.
The day-to-day running of the BEBF/EBF office in Newmarket is now in the hands of Cheryl Williams, who is assisted by Candy Wight and Susan Carroll.