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Monday, March 17, 2003



The Jockey Club today announced the introduction of new measures designed to be of significant benefit to the interests of both racehorse owners and trainers.

Coming into effect on 20th March is a Code of Conduct for trainers which outlines the minimum standards the Jockey Club expects of them with regard to their dealings with owners. It is hoped that the initiative will increase the retention of existing owners and also make the sport more attractive to potential investors.

From 28th April, the Jockey Club are also making it compulsory that all owners enter in to 'training agreements' with the trainers responsible for looking after their horses. This will ensure that the Jockey Club can give greater assistance to trainers in the event of an owner falling behind with payment of training fees, as well as enabling owners to see more clearly how their monthly costs were incurred.

Talking about the introduction of the Jockey Club's measures, PR Director John Maxse said: "I don't think there is any doubt that in the past racing has sometimes appeared to operate like a closed shop. Consequently, too many owners have left the sport dissatisfied, often as a result of nothing more than a lack of understanding or communication.

"It is vital that owners, as one of the sport's key investors, feel as though they are getting a good service. What makes racing virtually unique, as well as being one of its greatest selling points, is the potential for members of the public to get involved through ownership. No one can guarantee an owner a winner, but a more transparent way of conducting business will enable owners to understand better where their money goes and what their rights are.

"We're confident that these measures, which reflect commercial legal requirements, will ensure that owners get more out of racing and as a result they will almost certainly put more back in, which will benefit all concerned."

To produce the new Code of Conduct and the revised Training Agreement, the Jockey Club consulted extensively with the Racehorse Owners' Association and the National Trainers' Federation. The initiative also has the backing of the BHB's Marketing Department who envisage the measures not only acting as an incentive to bring in new owners, but also as a tool to keep more existing owners in the sport.

Notes regarding the Code of Conduct and Training Agreements:

* In short, the Code of Conduct is intended to prevent misunderstandings between owners and trainers, in particular, in relation to the dissatisfaction that can occur as a consequence of the purchase or sale of horses, for example arising from undisclosed commissions or other financial interests.

* The Code also makes it clear that the trainer must inform the owner promptly of any injury which will require a prolonged period of box rest for the horse.

* Other areas covered include the entering of horses into selling and claiming races, as well as for sale at public auction.

* In all cases it will be the responsibility of the owner to make a complaint to the Jockey Club if they feel a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred.

* Regarding the 'Training Agreement', under Rule 52 it will become compulsory for owners and trainers to agree terms in respect of a number of matters, including basic training fees, other regular expenses such as gallop fees and shoeing costs as well as time and method of payment by the owner.

* The details of each training agreement will be a matter for the individual owners and trainers and the content will not be registered with the Jockey Club.

* Copies of the full wording of the Code of Conduct and the requirements of Training Agreements are available on request from the Jockey Club Press Office. They are also reproduced in full on the Jockey Club website and will be included in the soon to be published 2003 edition of the Rule book.


Hill & Knowlton have been appointed by BHB to provide specialist public relations advice in respect of the ongoing Office of Fair Trading inquiry and to act as BHB's Parliamentary and public affairs advisors.

BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said: "The culmination of BHB's Racing Review and the announcement of the OFT's views will present great opportunities for Racing. It is vital that the governing authority should adopt a highly professional and focused approach to its management of all the issues that lie ahead of us.

"The Racing Review has given us the opportunity to consult with a huge range of people within and outside Racing and Hill & Knowlton's skills will ensure that the momentum behind these essential communications activities is maintained."

In the Parliamentary and public affairs area, Hill & Knowlton are supplying BHB with political lobbying and monitoring services as well as providing the secretariat for the Parliamentary All Party Racing and Bloodstock Industries Group.

The Hill & Knowlton public relations team is led by James Hunt, Managing Director of Corporate and Business Communications, and the public affairs team by Simon Miller, Director of Public and Corporate Affairs.

James Hunt said: "This is a very important time for Racing and it is great to have the opportunity to work with Greg and his team. We are looking forward to playing a major part in ensuring that the vital role that BHB plays in Racing is widely understood and appreciated."

Hill & Knowlton (www.hillandknowlton.com) is a leading international public relations and public affairs firm based in New York, with 71 offices in 37 countries as well as an extensive associate network. The agency is part of WPP Group Plc.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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