British racing's ruling body, the British Horseracing Board, has slashed budgets for 2005 in the light of losing a court case around database rights.
The BHB announced Dec. 9 that expenditure will fall by £8.7 million. There are estimates of a loss of income to racing next year of well in excess of £10 million.
The BHB still believes it will establish its database rights, but is reducing expenditures in the interim.
Meanwhile, some or all Irish bookmakers are likely to withhold payments for data until the BHB does get a clear ruling.
Martin Broughton, the BHB chairman, said: "The more we look at it, the more we see that a reconfiguration of our database processes to fit the European Court of Justice criteria on database rights is straightforward. However, we recognize that the time needed to reach that end position could be lengthy, as it could lead to a re-running of the whole legal process. We have therefore taken prudent, early action in order to ensure that BHB remains in a position to fulfill its obligations as the governing body of British horseracing."
BHB will save £3.2 million next year by suspending the owners' premium scheme and the development fund, through which matched prize money funding is offered by BHB to racecourses which stage certain races, is also being cut, freeing up £1.9m in 2005.
The BHB's marketing budget for 2005 is chopped in half, dropping from £3.5 million to £1.75 million. The BHB head office savings of over £1 million come about by not appointing a recruitment and development director and leaving other posts unfilled.
The Equine Fertility Unit and Equine Genetics Research had been meant to receive £600,000 in 2005 but this will be sharply reduced.
The BHB's summer triple crown bonus scheme, which was staged in 2003 and 2004, will be dropped in 2005.
Broughton added: "While we have identified the further measures which would have to be taken if it transpired that BHB could not establish a database rights or the equivalent, we remain confident that these will remain as contingency plans only."