A review of the Association’s past twelve months achievements, including highlighting the increased levels of communication with members, and looking ahead to overcome current issues being faced by breeders, were noted by Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson’s address at the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s (TBA) 104th Annual General Meeting, which was moved to an online on Wednesday.

The challenges faced in the movement of horses and people was highlighted as being of key importance and the Chairman said: “While our long-term aim must be to replicate, as closely as possible, the Tripartite Agreement that existed between us, France and Ireland, our focus is now to remove as many of the barriers to movement before the end of the year and the start of next year’s breeding season.”

The address also covered the on-going association with Weatherbys and the development of the e-Passport and new apps to improve the lifetime traceability of thoroughbreds.

The Chairman spoke of the breeding industries emergence from the pandemic and that strong sales are required to support the industry and assist breeders in planning ahead. He noted that that there had not been a full recovery in foal numbers from the 2008 financial crisis, and further recent decline since 2018.

As highlighted in the recent TBA-published breeding industry report, which was aimed at informing the wider industry of the current situation, further declines in foal crops would see racing’s appetite for more fixtures and larger field sizes go unfulfilled.

Richmond-Watson said: “We are world leaders in breeding and racing, but without substantial and focused financial uplift and support, the industry will decline and leave us all the poorer.”

One initiative which is helping to support the industry across the board is the Great British Bonus (GBB) scheme. Breeders, pinhookers, owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff can all benefit and the Chairman noted that it had “attracted great attention and is already producing results.”

The address closed with a message of thanks to payers of the sales levy and a reminder of the importance of breeders to the wider racing industry.

The Chairman said: “We are the British TBA and so your Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association. While of course we work with our colleagues in Ireland, France and around the world, we must make sure that our industry at home is supported first. I make no apologies for reminding you, the Government and the whole of the British horse racing industry, that without breeders producing foals to be the racehorses of the future, there is no racing, no crowds, and no industry.”

Following the address, James O’Donnell (Assistant Director at Shadwell Stud and Chair of the TBA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group) and Sarah Wynn (Managing Director at ADAS) informed attendees of the on-going work streams of the Group, including the methodology and headline findings from two recent environmental impact assessments and carbon calculations carried out on two stud farms. This work will prove useful in developing further guidance for breeders surrounding carbon footprints and the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).

There were further presentations which provided updates and information on current issues by Sam Bullard, Chair of the Education Committee, James Crowhurst, the in-coming Chair of the Veterinary Committee, and from Deputy Chairman Philip Newton, on the GBB scheme.

Peter Mendham and Kirsten Rausing stand down from long held positions

In his address, the Chairman personally thanked Peter Mendham, who was stepping down from the TBA Board following a ten-year period, for his advice and sound common sense provided. It was noted that Peter would continue to remain on the Brexit Steering Group.

The Chairman also acknowledged and thanked Kirsten Rausing for her commitment as Chair of the Veterinary Committee, before welcoming James Crowhurst as her replacement.