Kirsten Rausing, who steps down as TBA Chairman in August, gave her final address to the membership at the TBA AGM on Thursday following five years at the helm. The owner of Lanwades Stud will be succeeded by Richard Lancaster, Stud Director of Shadwell.
Reflecting on the start of her term of office, Miss Rausing said: “I predicted there would be too many yearlings in the sales both that year and the following year, but that market forces would be the only correction.
“In fact, the correction was much swifter than we had imagined and in 2012 we are now witnessing the opposite effect – a decrease in the production of thoroughbred foals for both National Hunt and Flat purposes to the point that it will soon be difficult for racing to fill the current fixtures list.”
Miss Rausing also noted that, along with a reduction of active broodmares, the number of breeders in Britain has decreased from more than 5,000 to approximately 3,500.
Veterinary support for breeders, increased political involvement with DEFRA and the promotion of British bloodstock were noted as key areas of improvement over the last five years, with the retention of the Breeders’ Prizes Scheme, albeit at the reduced level of £700,000 in annual rewards, also vital to members’ interests.
“The Levy Board continues to recognise the importance of supporting the domestic breeding industry and I am delighted that the Breeders’ Prizes Scheme has remained in place during my watch,” she said. “I sincerely hope that support for breeders will increase again to a meaningful level in response to the considerable challenges we face.”
With prize-money levels continuing to cause concern within the industry, Miss Rausing announced a potential new self-help scheme, with the title of British Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme (BOBIS), details of which are in the process of being discussed with the Levy Board.
Miss Rausing said: “BOBIS is a simple scheme designed to be transparent and easy for breeders and owners to understand its benefits. Importantly, it also recognises and rewards the contribution of owner-breeders and encourages the retention of fillies, with the aim that we see an increase of domestic broodmares over the next five years.
“We are looking for the support of the Racing Post Yearling Bonus Scheme, who have called for a more comprehensive all-embracing scheme to follow in their footsteps, and the trustees of the European Breeders’ Fund, who have also indicated a need to reinvigorate British breeding.”
Having gained the tacit approval of the Levy Board, further talks will be held in mid-July to determine the future of BOBIS, which has been devised by TBA Vice-Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson along with Paul Greeves, Grant Pritchard-Gordon and Louise Kemble.
Central to the scheme is the idea that breeders will pay a foal registration fee of £150, with the horse’s owner paying a further fee of £250 at the age of two. The ultimate aim is to increase the prize-money available in every British race by 25%, with the extra prize fund being split 70% to owners and 30% to breeders. Payments would be made to eligible British-bred horses regardless of where the horse’s sire stands.
Julian Richmond-Watson commented: “This is unashamedly a scheme to support owners of mares based in the UK. It’s a self-help scheme for every single Flat and National Hunt race and would be phased in over three years. We’d be looking to the Levy Board to match the funds raised by owners and breeders. By the time it’s up and running it should be generating and extra £5 million.”
Miss Rausing will oversee one final event in her role as TBA Chairman when she welcomes 65 breeders from 18 different countries to the International Breeders’ Meeting in Newmarket next month.
She said: “Supported by our sponsors and supporters, we will relish the opportunity to show the very best we have to offer in Newmarket to a most influential worldwide audience.”
Miss Rausing's full AGM speech is available on the TBA Members' Only section of the website.
Posted: Jun 19, 2012