Harry McCalmont, owner of Norelands Stud in Ireland, will take over Jan. 1, 2008, from the long-serving Michael Wates as chairman of the coordinating committee of the European Breeders’ Fund.
Wates steps down after 18 years as chairman and 24 years in all on the coordinating committee of the organization that injects substantial amounts of prize money into European racing.
McCalmont becomes only the third chairman since the EBF was founded in 1983 as the European counterpart to the fledgling Breeders’ Cup, which was established for the purpose of revitalizing the American racing industry through revenue drawn from stallion fees. The EBF was intended to be not only a measure of self-help for European racing, but also a means of securing access for European horses to some of the benefits of the Breeders’ Cup scheme through cross-registration.
It will be a poignant moment for McCalmont when he becomes chairman because his late father, Victor, was the initial chairman.
“I have been a governor of the Irish EBF for 14 years and chairman of the Irish EBF for eight or nine years, so I have been on the coordinating committee for that time,” McCalmont said. “It is a very nice thing to be able to take up the chairmanship. My father, I believe, was a very well-respected chairman, and I’m delighted to be able to follow in his footsteps and also to be able to take over from Michael Wates, who has held the position for 18 years.”
The original participating countries in the EBF were France, Great Britain, and Ireland. They were joined in 1986 by Germany and Italy, with Switzerland coming on board three years later.
“Michael has been perceived by all the countries in the EBF as being an extremely fair and impartial chairman, and I only hope that I can do the same,” McCalmont said. “I am particularly looking forward to meeting and talking with the Breeders’ Cup team--our counterparts in the (United States)--which is an extremely important facet of the EBF.
“They are expanding the Breeders’ Cup with three new races next year, so I think it is very important that the EBF is seen to be a partner in the Breeders’ Cup races and to be involved in the whole operation. I will also be reminding them of the enormous contribution that the Europeans have made to the Breeders’ Cup over the years, and that there has been something in excess of $4 billlion (U.S. dollars) worth of yearlings imported from the U.S. by Europeans since the Breeders” Cup started.”
The new chairman said he is keen to see the EBF expand to other countries, including Turkey.
In reflecting on his time with the EBF, Wates said: “It has been rewarding in so much as the EBF has progressed immensely in the last 24 years. A lot of money comes in from the United States now, the stallion owners in Europe have totally accepted the scheme and it is working very well.
“I think the thing that I have been most pleased about is the relationship that we’ve had with Breeders’ Cup and, through that relationship, we have built up a good in-flow of dollars each year into European racing.”