The only annoying thing about the TBA’s Next Generation Club is that, even when it was launched four years ago, I was already too old to join. So I’ve made the odd excuse of ‘reporting on an event’ to gatecrash gatherings but that only made me more envious that I couldn’t be one of the gang.
This month a new Chairman has been announced for the 11-strong committee. Jane Hedley did an excellent job in getting the ball rolling and she was succeeded by the indefatigable Zenia Wright, who has recently relinquished the chair to Sam Hoskins. Hoskins may be only 27, but he already has fingers in plenty of racing’s pies. Often seen assisting Geoffrey Howson at the sales, he founded the Hot To Trot Racing Club with Luke Lillingston with the aim being “to introduce as many new people to the exhilarating sport of horseracing”.
This followed several years working for the Niarchos family, while the most recent addition to his CV is to have become the youngest ever member of the TBA Board. Yes, he does sound like rather a tiresome over-achiever, doesn’t he? But in fact, Hoskins is one of the nicest, and certainly one of the most enthusiastic, people in racing. The industry is lucky to have him and it’s easy to envisage him and fellow committee members playing leading roles in the racing and breeding industry in years to come.
The NGC has nearly 1,000 members, which in turn has helped to boost the 18-35 age group of TBA members. Hoskins and his team will surely encourage plenty more along the way.
There were around 100 different stallions on show during this year’s La Route des Etalons in Normandy, but without doubt the star attraction was Redoute’s Choice at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval, which had more than 350 visitors.
The signing of such a huge star from the southern hemisphere was a major coup for the French breeding industry and came on the back of a good working relationship between the Aga Khan’s team and John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud, which stands the dual Australian champion sire. Another example of the liaison between the two cross-hemisphere operations comes in the form of Australian Derby prospect Vadashan, who is by Redoute’s Choice and was bred in partnership by the Aga Khan and Arrowfield.
The colt’s owners Saeed Naser Al Romaithi, Renata Coleman and Arrowfield have agreed that, in the build-up to his Group 1 target, he can race in the colours of a new syndicate called Young Professionals in Racing (YPR) – a venture whose aims closely resemble those of the NGC. Generously, the racing costs are borne by the existing owners, giving the young members a fantastic opportunity to become involved at the highest level.
Speaking to the Sydney Telegraph, YPR Chairman Kathryn Thomson said: “YPR’s involvement with Vadashan provides a social and educational alternative to the sometimes daunting responsibilities associated with racehorse ownership, yet enables members to experience all the excitement of racing a horse they feel connected to.”
Vadashan is a son of the Listed-winning Sagacity mare Vadsalina, a half-sister to the Prix Saint-Alary winner Vadawina, whose son Vadamar was purchased last year by Qatar Racing with a potential Melbourne Cup campaign in mind.
John Messara has already been instrumental in encouraging participation of the next generation of racing fans with his backing of the Redoute’s Choice Club, an invitation-only venture aimed at bringing together young professionals and introducing them to the delights of racing. Last month, The Redoute’s Choice Club officially joined forces with YPR.
In Australia, where racing syndicates are widespread, the leasing of Vadashan was a logical step. In this country, syndicates and partnerships are also on the increase, with breeders such as Biddestone Stud becoming involved in leasing schemes. Betfair Club ROA, which leased horses for its young members, made inroads in this area but was wound up a few years ago when its sponsorship came to an end. Perhaps one of the tasks for the new committee of the NGC is to sweet-talk some of the sport’s major players into an arrangement on a horse akin to Vadashan.