Grand National course walk available this weekend

BHA Jockey Coach, Brian Harding, will be available on Saturday morning to walk the Grand National course with any riders who would like to do so. Jockeys who are having their first or second ride over the Grand National course will walk it with Brian; and likewise any with less experience over the Grand National course.

Harry Cobden was recently quoted about the value of the course walk: “Aintree trialled the course walks with a Jockey Coach at the Grand National meeting and I thought it was a great idea, so walked the course with Carl Llewellyn on the Friday ahead of the Topham Chase. I subsequently won on Ultragold and Carl’s advice and insight proved invaluable, so much so I walked the course with him again the next day before the Grand National! Whilst luck wasn’t to be repeated I did complete the course on Just A Par and I couldn’t recommend this initiative enough.”

Brian will be available from first thing in the morning and is happy to walk the course as many times as necessary. We hope that you are willing to encourage jockeys to utilise Brian and his experience. Brian’s numbers are 017684 80960, 07968 863068 for anyone who would like to liaise direct with regard to walking time.

Thank you for your Award nominations

We were delighted with your response to the call for nominations in the inaugural running of the Lycetts Team Champion Award. At the close of nominations on Friday the number submitted had exceeded the target so we would like to say a big thank you for the huge efforts made by trainers and their staff in nominating yards.

This gives us a wonderful opportunity to fulfil the aims of the award –

  • Showcase the great places to work in British racing stables;
  • Raise awareness of what ‘good’ looks like in managing staff; and
  • The positive results of developing a team that works well together.

This week our judging panel will begin scoring the nominations in accordance with the criteria set out in the entry form. Later this month, two shortlists will be announced comprising the four highest scoring yards with 40 or more, and fewer than 40 horses. In January the judges will visit those eight yards with the winning stable in each category presented with their £4000 prize at the NTF’s Annual General Meeting at the Institute of Directors on 22nd February.

Mary Reveley

The NTF sends sincerest condolences to the family of Mary Reveley, who has died suddenly.

In her career as a trainer Mary saddled a huge volume of winners across both codes. She was from that rare seam of trainers whose fundamental horse knowledge enables them to bring out each horse’s full potential whatever its characteristics and aptitudes.

Her understated success gained her the respect of fellow trainers and at the NTF we benefited from her wise thoughts on racing matters.

Have your say on British racecourses

The Racecourse Association is requesting the help of trainers to get a better understanding of the key reasons for running horses at their Racecourses. A joint letter from the RCA and NTF Presidents inviting you to participate can be read at the link below.

Trainers Survey – letter from RCA and NTF Presidents

By completing the survey below, the results will enable racecourses to better understand the entry process and ultimately how they can improve the experience for trainers and owners. The survey has a number of generalities which have been necessary for practical reasons. However the RCA hopes the survey can be used to drive positive change and help to inform prize money and spending decisions.


Staff accompanying horses to sales

With the sales season approaching, we have had enquiries from trainers about paying expenses to staff when they accompany horses to the sales.

Even where the sales are at racecourses, the subsidised raceday canteens are not likely to be open and staff may be paying full rates for meals and drinks.  Trainers should ensure that staff are reimbursed for out of pocket expenses at sales; the tax free element of the daily allowances authorised by HMRC only applies to “going racing” and so the best practice for sales days would be to pay expenses against receipts given to you by staff. Alternatively you could advance staff an allowance and ask them to provide receipts for any money spent and the balance returned.

£9.7m boost for grass roots as 2018 Fixture List is published

Alongside the publication of the 2018 Fixture List today, the BHA, with the support of the RCA and Horsemen’s Group has announced a package of proposals to invest additional Levy income with the aim of delivering three key objectives for the sport – supporting ownership, delivering more competitive and compelling racing, and increasing customer engagement, which will in turn help grow the sport’s future revenues. Along with other horsemen representatives, the NTF was involved in the protracted and complex discussions to agree these measures.

Central to the proposals is an estimated boost of £9.7 million of additional Levy funding targeted at mid and lower-tier racing through increases to prize money funding supported by a new appearance money scheme and race incentive fund. These schemes will improve returns to horsemen and also aim to increase field sizes at Class 3 and below over jumps and Class 4 and below on the flat. As a consequence, most races in Britain (with a small number of exceptions depending on race type) will now be run with a total race value of at least £6,000 from 2018.

Racecourses will be given the opportunity to invest their own revenues to unlock the extra prize money funding and appearance money,which would see qualifying races introduce payments of at least £300 for horses finishing between fifth and eighth place. As a result the overall boost to returns to horsemen at grass roots level will be significantly greater than the extra money invested via the Levy, with an estimated total boost of more than £11m to prize money.

In addition, an existing £6m race incentive fund will continue to incentivise the programming of races at Class 1 to 3, with a £500,000 Development Fund continuing to be used to support longer term strategic initiatives to enhance the breed, alongside £1m of new funding collected through an auction of BHA Fixtures.

Class 6 race example

It is also the intention that the Plus 10 Bonus Scheme will receive a boost in 2018 with around £300,000 of revenue being invested to support returns to three-year-old staying horses, aligning the scheme with the broader, industry objective to encourage the breeding and racing of stayers.

The proposals are subject to the availability of forecast levy funding and the approval of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB). They are based on anticipated minimum Levy spend on prize money of £57.4m in 2018, which represents a growth of £8.05m from 2017. Prize money spending efficiencies, including race divisions being funded by the racecourses, will allow for the £9.7m investment in grassroots.

Other headlines include:

  • Earliest Fixture List publication since 2009
  • Introduction of a week-long break after the Bet365 Jump Finale at Sandown, with the new Jump season proper starting on the following Saturday afternoon at Uttoxeter
  • A small number of additional fixtures have been programmed in customer-friendly slots on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons throughout summer with the aim of increasing attendances.
  • Around 20 Monday and Tuesday afternoon fixtures, capable of being staged under floodlights in the winter, will have a later start time as a twilight fixture to support changes to the betting market.
  • At the time of year when the available horse population means that flat eliminations are at their highest, twilight fixtures will be staged on Monday evenings in September and October.
  • With a view to continuing strengthening Sunday racing, an incentive fund will offer support for the staging of a fixture worth at least £70,000

Top line figures from the 2018 Fixture List are:

  • A total of 1,508 fixtures have been scheduled, 11 more than planned in 2017.
  • Ratio of fixtures in 2018 – Jump: 39.7%, Flat Turf 37.7%, All Weather 22.6% (2017: Jump 40.1% : Flat Turf 38.1% : All Weather 21.8%)
  • 910 Flat fixtures scheduled (14 more than in 2017). Of these fixtures, 569 are Flat Turf fixtures (one fewer than 2017) while 341 are All Weather fixtures (15 more than originally scheduled in 2017)
  • 598 Jump fixtures scheduled (three fewer than 2017
  • By betting session, there will be 1,096 afternoon fixtures (19 fewer than 2017) and 412 evening fixtures (30 more than 2017).