Horsemen's Group Formed in Great Britain

A horsemen's group has been set up in Britain to protect and develop the interests of the racing industry's stakeholders and those who earn their living from the sport, but breeders for the moment are staying on the sidelines.

The principal aim of the move is to maximize British racing's income and ensure that a fair proportion of revenue flows through to those who invest money, time and expertise in maintaining the quality of the

The Horsemen's Group was formally established March 20 when representatives of racehorse owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff came together to sign an historic agreement. The four members are the direct recipients of prize money.

The Horsemen's Group will negotiate a prize-money contract with Britain's 59 racecourses and find suitable members for a new company ("Newco") that will be owned 50-50 by the Horsemen's Group and the Racecourse Association/racecourses.

It had originally been proposed that "Newco" would negotiate contracts with bookmakers and overseas betting operators but, with the Levy Board likely to continue operating, its role will require re-defining.

Although not direct recipients of prize money, the British Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, representing breeders, has also been invited to join the group.

However, the TBA is maintaining a watching brief but the Horsemen's Group has left the door open for breeders' involvement in the future.

Michael Harris, chief executive of the Racehorse Owners' Association, said: "Although it is now much more likely that the Levy Board will continue than when we first floated the idea of a horsemen's group, we believe the group will still play an important role in helping to ensure British racing has long-term commercial stability.

"The concept of the horsemen's group has quickly become accepted as a logical development within the industry."