The Royal Treatment: Life in a racing yard

A new video has been launched today by the sport’s Horse Comes First campaign.

The video goes behind the scenes at the yard of William Haggas and showcases the remarkable facilities and dedication of the people who care for horses every day. While the video was filmed at one of the country’s top yards, the message is clear that all of the people who work in racing have the welfare of horses as their number one priority.

Watch the video here

The Horse Comes First campaign is the sport’s project to raise awareness of the high welfare standards that exist within British racing and improve the wider public’s perception of the sport. The NTF is a member of this campaign and we see it as extremely important – the sport often comes under attack for its welfare standards, the Horse Comes First is all about us going on the front foot and showing the public, government, welfare organisations and other influencers that the sport has a welfare record to be proud of.

 

“Inspirational” management training to support staff retention

“Inspirational.” “Very good ideas to take back to the yard and help with staff retention.”
“I learned a lot about leadership and management.”
“It has made me look at things from a completely different perspective and question how we do things in our yard.”

These are a few of the feedback comments about the management training modules we put on last year to support trainers with their Lycetts Team Champion Award nominations. The 2019 series begins in July. Trainers looking for support for the award have the opportunity with their senior staff to attend one of the modules created for the NTF by Peter Burnet of The Peplow Group.

With the title ‘Building a Sustainable Business’ the module is designed to help trainers recruit and retain exceptional staff teams. It is about sharing ideas, tips and support to match the team award criteria and make other wider ranging changes.

It will take place at three venues this summer / autumn:

  • The BRS in Newmarket on 20th July 2018
  • Malton on 8th August 2018
  • Cheltenham on 12th September 2018

Tea and Coffee will be available from 09.30. Each day will run from 10.00 to 16.30 with lunch and refreshments provided. Dress is casual / work clothes. The day will consist of a mix of activities, discussion and some new ideas.

Each participant will be encouraged to generate an action plan to help implement any new ideas back in the yard. There is no formal preparation for the day and please come with an open mind!

To book places

In the first year of the award, the Racing Foundation fully funded the management training. This year there is a charge of £100 per place. To book yourself and up to one other staff member onto any of the three days please contact the NTF at teamchampion@racehorsetrainers.org or ring 01488 71794.

The importance of good practice and detailed medication records

If you are unfortunate enough to have a positive ‘dope’ test, that is an automatic breach of the BHA equine anti-doping rules (EADR) as there is strict liability for a positive sample.

What penalty may be imposed depends upon whether the substance was intentionally administered (whether or not by someone connected with you) and whether you as the trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid violating the rule.

The burden of proof is upon the trainer. The steps you take in your yard to avoid contamination and cross contamination will be closely scrutinised by the BHA Disciplinary Panel to help them decide if you have established that it was a) not intentional administration and b) you have met the “all reasonable precautions” test.

What are reasonable precautions will vary from yard to yard – guidance is available on the NTF website.

This area of the website has been updated to include templates policies covering human medication, equine medication and feedstuffs for yards to adapt to suit their own needs.

It is important to show that you

  • have risk assessed your yard
  • put procedures in place
  • have someone to check those procedures are being followed and
  • that if they are not, steps are taken to ensure that they are.

Good practice includes training upon yard hygiene and bio-security practices as part of an employee’s induction. Training should be refreshed and updated as necessary.

There have been a number of positive tests for cetirizine, which is commonly found in hay fever and anti-allergy tablets. This is one example of many over the counter remedies that contain prohibited substances. It is important to ensure that your staff are aware of this and exercise extreme care if taking any medication of any description.

Your medication records book will also be examined by the BHA and is likely to form part of the evidence before the Disciplinary Panel.

A failure to keep proper records can also be a separate breach of the Rule (C) 13 in addition to the Equine Anti-Doping breach, with the penalty range of between £250 – £2,000.

All treatments must be recorded and it is important to ensure that covers all the information required by the rule.   The record does not have to be in the from of the NTF medication book though that is, of course, an easy format to use with columns for all the information required. A copy of the rule setting out the duty to keep records can be found at http://rules.britishhorseracing.com/Orders-and-rules&staticID=126597&depth=3

Any queries relating to keeping of medication records, either contact the NTF (d.bacchus@racehorsetrainers.org) or the BHA (equine@britishhorseracing.com)

BHA announces further changes to 3yo flat novice conditions

Responding to feedback from trainers and analysis of five months’ of race data, the BHA has announced more changes to the 3 year old flat novice race conditions. These will take effect for races staged from Monday 9th July.

  • The definition of a “novice” is modified such that horses that have run three times and have won a race would be ineligible for three-year-old and three-year-old and upwards novice races. This means that the only winners that can run in novice races will be horses that had one or two previous runs.
  • There is a small increase in the number of maiden races restricted to unraced and once-raced horses, particularly in the first three months of the turf season. This proposed change will see the balance in novice and maiden races move to c.75% novice: 25% maiden.
  • Penalties carried by winners of Class 4 and 5 Open Novice and Class 4 Novice Auction races to be increased

The BHA says that comparing 3yo and 3yo+ novice/maiden races with the equivalent races staged in 2017, average field sizes have increased and their competitiveness, measured by the average starting price of the favourite, is almost unchanged. The main purpose of the latest changes, however, is to address concerns that the participation of a highly rated, more experienced horse looking for a soft option is making some novice races uncompetitive.

Ralph Beckett, who represents the NTF on the Racing Group said:

“These changes should address the issues that have emerged with extending the novice system from the two year old programme, where it is working well, to three year olds and older horses. We all know that in the past winning on your first or second start was often limiting to a horse’s future prospects, and this new approach is changing that.

“I know that a number of trainers have been concerned about the consequences for a horse’s handicap rating of finishing too close behind a previous winner, and it is important that we as trainers remember the BHA’s handicapping policy is to focus on what a horse has beaten, rather than what has beaten it.”

Changes to penalty structure

 Race  Current penalty structure  Proposed changes to penalty structure
Class 3 Open Novice A winner 6lb
Of 2 races 10lb
No change
Class 3 Novice Auction A winner 6lb
Of 2 races 10lb
No change
Class 4 Open Novice Winner of auction race 3lb
For each other race 6lb
Winner of auction race up from 3lb to 4lb
For each other race up from 6lb to 7lb
Class 4 Novice Auction For each race won 6lb For each race won up from 6lb to 7lb
Class 5 Open Novice Winner of auction race 4lb
For each other race 7lb
Winner of auction race up from 4lb to 5lb
For each other race, no change at 7lb
Class 5 & 6 Novice Auction For each race won 7lb No change

Data analysis covering period 1 January – 31 May

Races staged

 Year  Maiden  Novice  TOTAL
2017 343 0 343
2018 73 (22%) 266 (78%) 339

Race competitiveness

 Year Average Field Size Average SP of Favourite
2017 8.22 2.36
2018 8.64 2.29

Record of previous winners

From 1 Jan – 31 May, 353 horses carried a penalty in a novice event; 99, or 28%, of these penalty carriers won.

The profile of those 99 winners is summarised below, with those with seven or more previous runs obviously arising before the beginning of the turf season.

Previous runs Horses Winners Strike rate %
1 run 54 17 31
2 runs 138 32 23
3 runs 50 12 24
4 runs 32 14 44
5 runs 20 4 20
6 runs 23 6 26
7+ runs 36 14 29
TOTAL 353 99 28

Success rate of previous winners by penalty carried

Previous runs Horses Winners Strike rate %
3lb 6 2 33
4lb 43 14 33
6lb 47 13 28
7lb 236 63 27
More than one race 21 7 33

BHA working with the Government on staffing shortage

We know the serious shortage of skilled staff is probably the number one concern for many trainers. A key factor behind the shortage was the Government’s decision to change the rules for migrant workers in 2011 leading to Work Riders being removed from the Shortage Occupation List. Brexit has the potential to make matters worse if it puts in place more obstacles for EU workers to be employed in British racing stables.

The NTF and BHA are working together to communicate to Government the industry’s requirements from a future immigration system. We have communicated to Government that, while proactive steps are being taken to counter the current shortfall of available staff through domestic recruitment, it is important for British racing to still be able to have appropriate access to the best internationally skilled workers in the short-to-medium term. British racing has made these representations to the Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence on the impact of EEA workers in the UK Labour Market which will inform future Home Office Immigration Policy.

British racing’s submission (developed alongside the NTF and TBA) was published as part of an Interim Report by MAC on 27 March, while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) also highlighted British racing’s case in their own Departmental submission.

In summary, British racing has called for a post-Brexit immigration system which:

  1. Does not adversely compromise the status of EEA and non-EEA workers already based in the UK, which would exacerbate the current shortfall
  2. Recognises that work riding is a highly skilled profession and allows (as was the case before 2011) racing grooms to be included on the Shortage Occupation List: and
  3. Does not have separate tracks for EEA and non-EEA immigration

The BHA continues to explore opportunities for raising the profile of the industry on these issues, such as through an ongoing House of Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee inquiry on people movement in the fields of sport and culture, to which it has also provided written evidence.

Management training to support your Lycetts Team Champion nomination

We are beginning the build up to the 2019 Lycetts Team Champion Award; nominations will open at the beginning of September. Trainers looking for support for the award have the opportunity with their senior staff to attend a supporting management development module created for the NTF by Peter Burnet of The Peplow Group.

With the title ‘Building a Sustainable Business’ the module is designed to help trainers recruit and retain exceptional staff teams. It is about sharing ideas, tips and support to match the team award criteria and make other wider ranging changes.

It will take place at three venues this summer / autumn:

  • Newmarket on 20th July 2018
  • Malton on 8th August 2018
  • Cheltenham on 12th September 2018

Tea and Coffee will be available from 09.30. Each day will run from 10.00 to 16.30 with lunch and refreshments provided. Dress is casual / work clothes. The day will consist of a mix of activities, discussion and some new ideas.

Each participant will be encouraged to generate an action plan to help implement any new ideas back in the yard. There is no formal preparation for the day and please come with an open mind!

To book places

In the first year of the award, the Racing Foundation fully funded the management training. This year there is a charge of £100 per trainer/yard. To book yourself and up to one other staff member onto any of the three days please contact the NTF at teamchampion@racehorsetrainers.org or ring 01488 71794.

Get your horse’s vaccination dates right with EquiBioSafe

A recent insight into the systems used by trainers to ensure their horses are vaccinated on the correct dates to comply with the rules suggested a reminder about the EquiBioSafe app would be useful.

EquiBioSafe is the app designed to assist trainers and breeders follow the respective Codes of Practice for Infectious diseases affecting thoroughbreds. It is available on both Apple and Android.

The app, launched thanks to funding and support from the Horserace Betting Levy Board, has a handy vaccination date calculator to help avoid passport errors. Its main purpose is a comprehensive management tool enabling trainers to identify diseases and locate their nearest APHA reporting centre. Download it now from The App Store or Google Play.