Protection against banking fraud

Banking fraud has been in the news recently with the PJA highlighting the failure of the High Street banks to use adequate security and properly investigate scams. As well as the jockeys who have been a target, we know of a small number of trainers to have suffered similar incidents. There may be more trainers that are in the same position but who haven’t been in touch with us.

If you are one, then it’s worth contacting Stephen Emberson, Integrity Analyst at the BHA. He has been working closely with the jockeys and PJA over the last few months to persuade the police to take an interest in all of the frauds they have been suffering. The BHA is offering similar support to trainers that they have been giving to the jockeys. If any trainers need some guidance on security best practices and things to look out for, you are welcome to contact Stephen on 020 7152 0184 or email

You may also be interested in some of the alternatives to High Street banking. For instance Racing FX, which is a fully regulated financial technology company, provides financial services tailored specifically to the equine industry. The company’s flagship ‘Cash Manager’ system provides clients with a full range of cash management services from a single, multi-currency account using the latest security and anti-fraud mechanisms, offering a real alternative to the traditional banking solutions available in the market today. Tom Jonason, Paul Nichols’ former assistant, is the contact at Racing FX and you can reach him on 0207 321 5666 or by email at

Mental health gaining a higher priority

It is good to see mental health issues receiving a higher profile in racing. Jockeys have been the focus of attention and this is understandable with the particular challenges they face as professional sportsmen and women. Whilst trainers face different pressures, the stresses are no less severe being self-employed people with multiple responsibilities, not to mention the difficulty of making the business financially viable.

The NTF is acutely aware of these issues and with the advent of the Racehorse Trainers Benevolent Fund, we have an opportunity to access funding to help trainers who face mental health difficulties. We will be looking into the options; it could be that a helpline like that offered to the jockeys would be the way forward. The PJA has advised us that the key to support is the follow-up face-to-face support.  This might be counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychiatry or some other form of group therapy.  It is vital to be able to treat people as soon as possible to ensure a speedy recovery.

It is also worth mentioning that Oaksey House in Lambourn has appointed someone who is there one day a week to provide confidential advice and support.  This service is available to everyone. If you need psychological support, help with coping with the pressures of racing, support for lifestyle and well-being issues or any other mental health advice call 01488 674242 to book an appointment.

New Racing Admin website extending its reach

We would like to hear how trainers are getting on with the new BHA Racing Admin website. All trainers now have access to the site but not all are using it. The next time you will be obliged to use the site is when you complete your license renewal as has been the case for the last two years.

The BHA ran training sessions in 16 locations earlier this year and tells us they were very well received and had over 220 attendees in total. There are currently around 200 yards that are regular users but 200 trainers have never logged in and another 222 have only logged in between 1 and 10 times.

Between now and the shutdown date of the old site (currently planned for the end of January 2017) the following will take place:

  • Communicate on a weekly / bi-weekly basis with trainers, informing them of the benefits of the new site, highlighting key features and generally help them to migrate across to the new site
  • Stage a further round of training sessions around the country as the shut-down date approaches
  • Provide online help videos to help complete key tasks
  • Advertise the help that is on hand via Weatherbys to overcome any issues

You can provide us with feedback by contacting George Noad at the NTF office or by email at

Weight allowances change in jump Black Type races

On a recommendation of the BHA Jump Patter Panel, the BHA Board has approved an amendment to the riders’ weight allowances that apply to NH Flat Races.

Currently an allowance can be claimed by Conditional and Amateur jockeys when riding in Black Type NH Flat Races. Riders are not permitted to claim an allowance in any other Black Type Weight for Age race and the Rules Committee accepted a recommendation that this is no longer appropriate. Therefore from 1st November 2016, rule (F) 141.3 will be changed to read

“141.3.4 a National Hunt Flat Race classed 3, 4, 5 or 6 in accordance with Schedule (F)2

South West kicks off the regional meeting season

For trainers in our South West region, the autumn regional meeting takes place at Taunton Racecourse at 2pm on Monday. The agenda was sent out earlier this week and there are some important race planning items for jumping. If you haven’t already replied, please let George Noad know if you will be there.

The next regional meeting is in Newmarket on 1st November.

Revaluation of Non-Domestic Rates showing some big increases

Depending on where in the country a trainer is located, their business (non-domestic) rates from April 2017 could take a severe hike upwards. As the NTF has been trailing, revised Rateable Values (RV) for commercial premises were made available on the Government tax service website last weekend. You can check the new RV for your business properties by entering your post code and choosing the relevant property.

There is a wide variation in increases. Some research indicates a range of between 12% and 83%. The most disappointing news is that these higher RVs will lead to higher rate bills because the Government has not adjusted significantly the rate in the pound. The rate in the pound shown on the website calculator is 0.467, compared to 0.50 in the current list.

If you notice any errors in fact about the details of your premises shown on the Government website, you can request a correction. There are instructions on the website. Appeals, on the other hand, can only be made from next April. Therefore trainers need to start planning ahead to take account of the effect on their business of the likely increase in overhead costs.

There will be Transitional Relief applied over successive years to mitigate the effect of any large increases. Also, Small Business Relief, which was made more generous in the last Budget, will help some yards but the occupier must apply for it.

RVs are based on the Valuation Office’s (VO) judgement of open market rents for properties within a given category. As you know, we have conducted a survey of trainers who rent their yards so we have evidence with which to challenge the VO’s calculations, which are driven by a formula, so may not reflect the facts for each premises. We would like to thank the trainers who responded to that survey for providing the information.

Many other businesses are suffering similar increases so trainers are not alone. Be wary of agents cold calling and pressure sales to act on your behalf. In particular avoid signing a contract before reading in detail and understanding the cost implication.

If in doubt please contact Bill Simpson who has been an adviser to the NTF and dozens of individual racehorse trainers since 1988.

Correcting Stewards Reports

Last week a trainer contacted us about a misleading Stewards’ Report from the racecourse. It involved the trainer’s explanation for the poor performance of his horse. The trainer felt the stipe had encouraged him to give the ground as a reason, whereas the trainer had speculated there was another cause.

We don’t need to go into further detail here but the conclusion of our conversation with Paul Barton, Head of Stewarding, was that Stipendiary Stewards should always accept and faithfully report the trainer’s explanation. And if the trainer thinks the final report is inaccurate, he/she should contact the Disciplinary Department (or the relevant stipe) and ask for a correction.