Resignations Rock Britain's National Stud

Britain's National Stud has been rocked by the resignations of four of its five directors in a protest linked to the appointment of a new chairman at the Newmarket farm, which is run by the Levy Board, a government subsidiary.

Lanwades Stud owner Kirsten Rausing, Peter Stanley of New England Stud, and bloodstock agent James Wigan followed the lead of owner-breeder Geoff Howard-Spink, who had resigned four weeks earlier, by resigning over the appointment of Andrew Parrish as chairman. Only Brian Chandler remains as a director.

Parrish, who will replace Peter Player on Aug. 1, has been a racehorse owner for about 20 years and was formerly group chief executive of an international engineering company. He does not have a strong breeding background.

The disgruntled quartet issued a statement saying, "(We) believe the lack of consultation has resulted in an unnecessarily bureaucratic and highly expensive management structure that is untenable for the National Stud. They would not accept such an arrangement in their own operations and cannot condone it as directors of the National Stud."

The National Stud, which is open to the public, showed a deficit of £1.482 million ($2.3 million) in 2002. Last year's income from the stud's five stallions, Silver Patriarch, Bahamian Bounty, First Trump, Great Dane, and Golden Snake, was £421,000 ($670,000).

Levy Board chairman Rob Hughes defended the decision. "Of course we need breeding expertise in the management of the stud and on its board, and I'm first to acknowledge the diligent work that these breeding industry representatives have done. However, we are now looking to be much more of a public body with greater public access."