As the BHA continues to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the industry, the sport’s regulator has announced that changes to apprentice agreements and a consultation on the future of the whip are among the issues to have been delayed.
In a media release published to the website, the BHA said: “Owing to continued uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we have made the decision to temporarily delay the implementation of any changes to the apprentice and conditional jockey agreements.
“The amendments, which were due to come into force on March 28, include changes to the way income and expenses are to be split between apprentice/conditional jockeys and their trainers.
“While we do not have a firm date for when the changes will now be introduced, all required development has been completed and we will be able to provide a full update as to when they will take affect when racing resumes.”
The BHA made a request to the Horse Welfare Board to postpone the whip consultation, which was recommended in the independent group’s welfare strategy published in February.
Barry Johnson, the Horse Welfare Board’s Independent Chair, said: “The Horse Welfare Board fully supported the BHA’s request to postpone the planned consultation on the whip and will work with the BHA, at an appropriate time, to agree a new timetable.
“We are keen to ensure that any consultation on the whip is done thoroughly and well, with maximum involvement from people in the sport, which would be enormously challenging in the current circumstances.
“This postponement will allow British racing to focus on more immediate concerns relating to the welfare of people and horses.
“The Horse Welfare Board will support these efforts in any possible way and applauds the exceptional work that thousands of people in the industry are continuing to do on a daily basis, in caring for future, current and retired racehorses.”
In other industry matters, Musselburgh’s racing licence has been extended due to the ongoing virus situation.
The Scottish track’s current licence was due to expire on March 31 and renewal was previously contingent upon the completion of a deal with a third-party operator. The extension means there is more time for this deal to be completed.
Doncaster to stage virtual raceday
The Flat season would have been underway at Doncaster on Saturday were it not for the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the track is to offer a virtual raceday on its social media channels instead.
They will show two past editions of the Brocklesby, Doncaster Mile, Spring Mile and the Lincoln with racecards being revealed ten minutes before each race is shown. There will also be a chance to win County Enclosure tickets through a best dressed competition.
Doncaster’s Head of Marketing Emma Rouse said: “I had a bit of an epiphany on Monday night. The Flat was supposed to be back on Saturday, and we’d put so much work into it as a team and we’d had good advanced sales. We didn’t want to lose that totally, so we thought we’d celebrate racedays gone by.
“We’ve launched it with a post today, but an event will go out on Facebook with an animation explaining to people how they can get involved. [On Thursday] we will launch the best dressed competition with the hashtag horsebound – rather than housebound.
“Hopefully people will dress up and there is the opportunity to win tickets to a future raceday before the end of December 2021.
“On Friday we’ll show a piece to camera which our raceday presenter, Natalie Green, has done introducing it all, so we’re hoping it’s going to build momentum. On Saturday we’ll show a virtual racecard from 1:30pm with all the runners and, using previous At The Races footage, we’ll play the races out.
“Yes, there will be people who remember who won, but there might be some who’ve never been racing before who see it and fancy a day at the races when it’s back on.
“We have no idea when racing might resume, we’re obviously hoping the sooner the better, but if it helps keep interest warm, that will be great.”
Careersinracing.com job board providing essential support
To help meet the industry’s staffing needs throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the careersinracing.com job board continues to provide an essential service for employers and those looking for work in the racing industry.
While restrictions have been imposed on the British public, staff who are essential to the care of horses in working in yards or studs have been advised that they should continue to travel to work during the current period.
Employers looking for staff and members of the industry looking for new employment are being encouraged to use the job board as the main hub for recruitment and employment opportunities.
Will Lambe, Executive Director of the BHA, said: “Our sport’s people, and its horses, are at the forefront of our minds. They are the priority for the group of industry leaders tasked with assessing the implications of the cancellation of racing, the crisis overall, and our sport’s resumption as soon as is possible.
“As ever, it is important that activity is co-ordinated, and careersinracing is long-established and respected as British racing’s centralised recruitment hub. The careersinracing job board is free for all employers across the sport, and exists to make the process of finding staff, and finding work, as straightforward as possible.
“We know that there is still a lot of uncertainty for everyone in British racing and would emphasis again that Racing Welfare are set up to provide assistance.”
Racing Welfare’s Chief Executive Dawn Goodfellow added: “The job board is a hugely valuable resource for the racing industry, and we are proud to be working in partnership with careersinracing to promote it via the Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS) website.
“CATS compliments the information available through careersinracing by providing a centralised location for a comprehensive array of self-help online advice and guidance.
“I would encourage anyone who is in need of assistance in light of the current situation to get in touch with our team at Racing Welfare and to make use of all of the support we have available.”
Dream Tree in foal to Curlin
Dream Tree, who became Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ first top-level winner when she took the Starlet Stakes back in 2017, has been confirmed in foal to leading US sire Curlin.
Tom Ludt, Head of US Operations for Phoenix, said: “Dream Tree has been a special horse for us. She had a great will to win and was a true athlete.
“Considering her bloodlines, coupled with her race record, I see no reason she won’t be a top-quality broodmare. By sending her to a leading stallion such as Curlin we have given her the best chance of making a great start to her new career.”