British Breeding Industry Could Get Big Boost

One of the six main recommendations put forward today by the British Horseracing Board's review committee is to maintain and develop the British breeding industry.

If the proposed measures are accepted by the BHB's board on May 12, then the British thoroughbred breeding will receive its biggest-ever boost.

The review committee wants to introduce an owners' premium scheme for British-bred horses next year, continue the existing breeders' prize scheme and increase the number of races for quality fillies and mares.

The premiums for owners are suggested at 25% of all prize money for horses aged two, three, and four on the flat while there would be no age restriction for jump racing, for which fillies and mares will eligible for a 50% premium. The maximum owners' premium would be £25,000 for winners and £10,000 otherwise.

Peter Savill, the BHB chairman, said that the British breeding industry has been in decline and the measures will mean a more level playing field with the buoyant Irish breeding scene, which enjoys significant tax advantages. The French breeding world has been helped by owners' premiums for many years.

He pointed out that since 1994 foal production in Britain has fallen by 1.4% to 5,156 (in 2002) while the number of foals born in Ireland over the same period has jumped 60.4% to 10,214.

The cost of the owners' premiums is projected to be £1.1 million next year, rising annually to be £7.2 million in 2011.

"The proposed changes will stimulate interest in British-bred horses at sales, created more employment in Britain, encourage owners to switch horses aged five and over to jump racing and boost the number of fillies and mares in training," Savill said.