Confirmation of current flu vaccination requirements

Due to several enquiries to the NTF office, we thought it worth recapping on the current BHA requirements for Equine Flu vaccinations. It is important to emphasise that this is a temporary arrangement pending discussions between horseracing authorities in Britain, Ireland and France with the aim of harmonising the rules for all three countries.

From 1st May 2019, racehorses must be vaccinated for equine flu within NINE months of racing and/or entry to racecourse stables. This temporary change applies from until 31 December 2019 inclusive. The nine-month vaccination requirement consists of eight months, plus a grace period of one month, which will apply in 2019 only.

If a horse you train has not had a booster in the nine-month period before the day it is due to run, only a booster is required (plus the seven-day waiting period) to make it eligible to race – assuming it is less than 12 months since the horse’s last booster. Horses that are not running should be vaccinated according to the standard 12-month cycle.  

We are planning a one-page guide to the vaccination rules for trainers and their staff to refer to if needed. We have also asked the BHA to amend its online rules to make the requirements clearer and more accessible.

News from our business rates adviser

By Christopher Marriott

  • Communication from the Valuation Office
  • Advice on appeals

Many trainers will have recently received Notices from the Valuation Office Agency requiring information about their leases, and threatening a fine of £100 if they don’t reply in 56 days. The reason for this is that there is to be a rating revaluation on 1st April 2021 and the “Antecedent Valuation Date” for this is 1st April this year. Since rating assessments are based on rental values, this means that the 2021 RVs will reflect the evidence supplied in these Notices which are legal documents. Therefore, trainers should be extremely careful when completing these forms because incorrect information supplied to the VOA could have a prejudicial effect on their rate liability in the future. If anyone is in the slightest doubt about how to fill in the form, they should take advice from a qualified rating surveyor. I would be more than happy to advise if asked; and I do not charge for telephone calls!

Second, the current appeal system of “Check, Challenge and Appeal” is proving to be a nightmare. It is complicated to put in place; it is convoluted; the Valuation Office Agency refuses to divulge the evidence on which they base a rating assessment, so the onus of proof rests entirely with the ratepayer; it is taking an age (I have put in Challenges for several yards over a year ago and I still do not know the name of the Valuation Officer with whom I should be discussing them), and in the meantime the trainer is having to pay rates on an excessive valuation. If any trainer is concerned about the size of their rate bill, I would suggest contacting a qualified rating surveyor – who should have RICS, IRRV or RVA after their name – for advice as soon as possible I would also advise treating cold calling “rating experts” with the very greatest suspicion. If in any doubt, then please get in touch and I will be able to help.

Lastly, a word of warning. Normally a rating appeal is retrospective, either to the start date of that Rating List, or to the date of any change which leads to a new assessment. However, during the last Rating List a measure was brought in with little prior notice limiting the date from which any appeal could take effect: it meant that instead of going back to 2010, rebates would only go back to 1st April 2015. With a new revaluation in the offing there is a concern that this might happen again so, if in doubt, put in an appeal.

Please note my contact details have changed to

Christopher Marriott, Marriott Brown Ltd., Hull Farm, Stratford Road, Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 5QF. Tel: 01608 698888,  Mobile: 07970 749658, Email: Christopher@marriottbrown.co.uk

BHA Notice – update on injectable omeprazole

Following the advice note to trainers in June 2019, the BHA can advise that analysis of a number of products which contain omeprazole has been performed at LGC (the BHA’s partner analytical laboratory).

No oral preparations were found to contain testosterone (nor any other anabolic steroids). However, samples of the injectable Omeprazole 100mg/ml (BOVA UK) were found to contain low levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is an anabolic androgenic steroid and is Prohibited At All Times over certain thresholds under Schedule (G)1 of the BHA Rules of Racing. The relevant Rules for substances that are Prohibited At All Times can be found in Schedule (G) – Equine Anti-Doping Manual. The associated penalties for these Rules are found in the Guide to Procedures and Penalties 2018.

Due to the above results indicating the presence of testosterone in the injectable Omeprazole 100mg/ml (BOVA UK), the BHA would advise that the possession, use or attempted use, and administration or attempted administration of this product could amount to breaches of the Rules of Racing (including that presence of testosterone over the permitted threshold in a sample may result in a 14 month suspension from racing and a 12 month mandatory stand down from racing for the horse in addition to other penalties for the Responsible Person).

As such, we would advise trainers and other industry participants to remove Omeprazole 100mg/ml (BOVA UK) from all licensed premises, and not to administer this product to a Thoroughbred from birth until permanent retirement from racing (this includes yearlings/other horses prior to entering training).

Trainers are encouraged to discuss alternative treatments with their veterinary surgeons in the first instance. Further advice may be sought by contacting the BHA Equine Health and Welfare Department on 020 7152 0090 or equine@britishhorseracing.com.

The BHA published Detection Time for oral omeprazole is –

DETECTION TIMES
Substance Preparation Dose Route of Administration Detection Time (hours)
Omeprazole Gastrogard® 37% Oral Paste Merial 1 mg/kg for 28 days, once daily Oral ≤48

New Rules website open for viewing

The new Rules of Racing, which have been re-written to make them clearer and easier to follow, can now be viewed online here ahead of them taking effect from 1 September 2019. They have been published now so you can become familiar with them before they are formally introduced. 

To help you to become familiar with the new Rules, and to ensure that any feedback can be incorporated by 1 September, workshops are also available should there be sufficient interest.

The project has primarily been focused on structure and presentation rather than changing the substance of the Rules. However, the following areas have been changed following approval from stakeholders (including the NTF), the Rules Committee and the BHA Board. 

  • A simplification of the Inside Information provisions that prohibit the passing of Inside Information outside of those who own, train or care for the horse even without reward or benefit in kind
  • Certain requirements in the new Horse Welfare and Management Manual are now on the Responsible Person rather than just the Trainer
  • The requirement to carry speed sensing devices is now “when appropriate” rather than being printed in the condition of every race, reflecting the fact they must only be worn when provided by the Racecourse.

Any subsequent Rule changes, such as those which may arise from the ongoing review of the BHA’s anti-doping Rules, will be announced separately. If you have any questions or would like to enquire about a workshop, please e-mail newrules@britishhorseracing.com

New podcast service to support you with employment matters

As part of our employment advice services to our members, we have now produced three podcasts giving information and guidance on three employment topics where we are often asked for assistance:

Podcast 1 – reference, trial periods and the stable employees register

Podcast 2 – the employment contract

Podcast 3 –dealing with a disappearing employee  

Each podcast is around 10 minutes long and is available in the Members Area on the NTF website here https://www.racehorsetrainers.org/members/podcasts.asp . (Look for the microphone symbol.)

If there is sufficient interest then further podcasts will be added – if there are any particular topics you would like to see covered then please email Dawn (d.bacchus@racehorsetrainers.org)

Race sponsors’ clothing need not be worn

An enquiry to the NTF office last week prompts us to confirm that your staff are not obliged to wear race sponsors’ clothing. It is very tempting for racing staff to accept clothing offered to them by racecourse officials or sponsors’ representatives. However, it is for the trainer to decide if it is appropriate for the clothing to be worn.

In some cases wearing the clothing may infringe the requirements of the Racehorse Owners Sponsorship Framework. Where a horse and/or jockey carries owners’ sponsorship, at least one sponsorship site must be visible in the parade ring. Race sponsors’ clothing must not be worn if it would obscure the only visible owners’ sponsorship site.

The only exceptions are at the Investec Derby meeting and Randox Health Grand National meeting – both have exclusive sponsorship deals and owners receive a compensatory payment from the race sponsors.

Free badge scheme launched for Racing Grooms

Press release – 28 June 2019

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to announce the launch of a new badge scheme in a partnership  between Arena Racing Company (ARC) racecourses and RacingGroom.com.

Headed  by Shelley Perham, Recruitment and Training Co-ordinator at the NTF, the new scheme enables members of RacingGroom.com to visit an ARC racecourse on up to four occasions per year, including two passes that may be used by guests of the badge holder.

It has been a long-held ambition by the NTF to enable grooms to attend and enjoy race fixtures, and not just work behind the scenes. We want these valued members of the team to experience a day out at the races with friends and family, and have the opportunity to enjoy the sport they contribute to with such dedication.

Shelley Perham,  National Trainers Federation

‘We are grateful to ARC for working with us so proactively on facilitating this badge scheme. RacingGroom.com was developed by the NTF to communicate value, rewards, and respect to existing racing staff, and this is just the type of reward we want to be sharing with members.

Racing Staff Week is a spotlight under which the industry stakeholders and race-going public can all show our gratitude for the dedicated care of our much-loved racehorses. It is this work ethic and commitment which makes the quantity and quality of racing on offer in Britain, possible. We look forward to seeing staff enjoying a race day from the stands and with friends and family very soon.’

Mark Spincer, Operations Director of ARC

‘We’re really pleased to be introducing this new badge scheme for Racing Grooms that will sit alongside the ones we already operate for Owners with the ROA.  The team at RacingGroom.com and the NTF have developed a really useful resource for Racing Grooms working in British Racing and we hope that this scheme will offer some enjoyable afternoons and evenings out for them, their friends and families at our racecourses.’

The ARC RacingGroom.com Badge Scheme will be eligible for over 500 fixtures across the 16 ARC racecourses per year.  In 2019, racing fixtures featuring live music at Wolverhampton (Madness and Jess Glynne, 30 and 31 August) and Doncaster (James on Saturday 17 August) will be included in the scheme.

To access the badge scheme, racing grooms must be signed up to RacingGroom.com which is free and simple to do. For the full terms and conditions for the ARC RacingGroom.com Badge Scheme, please visit http://www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk or http://www.racinggroom.com.

-Ends-

For any further information or queries, please contact Shelley Perham, s.perham@racehorsetrainers.org.

National Trainers Federation, 9 High St, Lambourn, Hungerford RG17 8XL

High res imagery available on request

About RacingGroom.com

RacingGroom.com, a new website and resource focused entirely on the rewarding career of racing staff. The site is designed to address recruitment and retention of young people in horse racing with a two fold mission;

  1. Communicate value, rewards, and respect to existing racing staff
  2. Inspire and inform potential racing staff about the invaluable role of racing grooms, and how to get involved.

Made possible through funding from Racing Foundation, the website is a real resource for all; racing staff, stakeholders and employers and can be utilised to complement the existing careers advice services. It is vital that the industry seeks to attract, engage with, mentor, inspire and care for the racing grooms, on which 14,000 horses (source: British Horseracing Authority) in training in Britain, rely on. The site serves as both an information service and signpost; to direct users to training providers, health and wellbeing support, job boards, and the relevant industry bodies. RacingGroom.com also serves to inspire newcomers into the industry, dispelling myths about the roles of racing staff, highlighting the real perks and benefits, and career progression opportunities. RacingGroom.com ensures that grooms have a central resource to access all the information they need to embark on, or develop their career.

There are two elements to the website, a front end with all the information on how to become a groom and to inspire anyone exploring racing groom as a career choice. Then there is a community hub, which is free to join. The hub is really dedicated to those serious about working as a groom, or are already doing so. It highlights exclusive rewards, access to trainer and racecourse information, health and wellbeing support, further information on training options and providers, and even has a unique CV and cover letter building tool.

About ARC

Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is the largest racecourse operator in the UK. In 2019 ARC Group racecourses will host 570 fixtures with 1.2 million people attending racing at one of ARC’s racecourses each year.

ARC is made up of the following sixteen racecourses: Bath, Brighton, Chepstow, Doncaster, Ffos Las, Fontwell Park, Great Yarmouth, Hereford, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Royal Windsor, Sedgefield, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

ARC runs four of the six all-weather racecourses in the UK offering three different types of surface for horses to run on: Polytrack at Lingfield Park, fibresand at Southwell Racecourse and tapeta at Newcastle and Wolverhampton Racecourses – the only tapeta racing surfaces in Europe.

Further information about ARC can be found at www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk.