Charlie Parker made his first address as the new President of the Racehorse Owners Association during its 76th Annual General Meeting on Thursday, which was held online due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Parker, who succeeded Nicholas Cooper in the role in June, used his speech to pay tribute to the UK’s racehorse owners and said: “The way in which owners have supported their horses and trainers during the lockdown and then have adapted during the crisis has been phenomenal.

“In truly testing times, owners have given unprecedented support to racing. This should never be forgotten. I am extremely proud to be taking on the Presidency of the ROA at a time when more than ever we need to represent you and work with others to deliver the future of this sport.”

As the sport continues to move forward from the coronavirus pandemic, Parker also urged those in racing to modernise if it wants to survive in the future.

He stated: “This current crisis presents the opportunity to deliver that modernisation and I am proud to say that the ROA has been leading work on a vision for racing.

“Alongside it’s day-to-day work the ROA will be underpinning its representation of owners by pursuing a clear set of long-term goals aimed at supporting ownership in racing, encouraging growth in the sport, and ensuring a sustainable, healthy, long-term future for racing.

“We must address the imbalances and inequalities in the sport. Racing can no longer hide from the future. It must embrace a progressive and fair approach, one, which respects and protects its participants.

“To achieve this the ROA and the Horsemen are determined to work with the racecourses and other stakeholders to grow the engagement in the sport, to help explore and exploit new revenue streams, to increase the size of and scope of the industry to the benefit of all.

“We have had to learn to adapt in these challenging times. Change that was perhaps inevitable has quickened and arrived at our doorstep earlier than anticipated. We can ignore it and face decline, or we can grasp it and create a better future for racing.

“That is a future that can inspire next generations into ownership and participation, into stables, into riding, into welfare, into our community, and into the world of racing.”

Earlier during the AGM, Sam Hoskins, Gay Kelleway and Alan Spence were confirmed as having been elected to the ROA board.

To view Parker’s address in full, press play on the video below.