26 Jun 2024

The Horse, front and centre at the TBA Bloodstock Conference as Welfare, People, Intervention and Incentivisation discussed.

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The challenges and opportunities for the future sustainability of the thoroughbred breeding and bloodstock industry were explored in-depth by speakers, panellists and delegates at the annual TBA Bloodstock Conference held on Tuesday at Tattersalls.

200 breeders, owners, enthusiasts, and industry professionals convened at Park Paddocks for the full-day event hosted by leading broadcaster and racing journalist, Lydia Hislop. 

The conference was opened by TBA Chairman, Philip Newton who discussed the current challenges facing the thoroughbred breeding industry and the need for transformational change to alter racing’s finances, but also shared some insight into how incentives such as the Great British Bonus were having a positive impact, with further enhancements to the scheme just around the corner.

Keynote speaker, trainer and founder of National Racehorse Week, Richard Phillips entertained delegates with some tales of his own pathway into the industry before outlining the genesis of the popular National Racehorse Week initiative and its growth over the last few years. Whilst centred around showcasing the thoroughbred and demonstrating high standards of care, it has also provided the right platform to inspire and engage the younger generation.

Claire Sheppard, TBA Chief Executive said: “Once again we were delighted to welcome so many TBA members, industry stakeholders and bloodstock enthusiasts to our annual conference. The expert speakers and panellists, combined with the extensive experience and expertise amongst the delegates themselves, meant we had some thought-provoking discussions on some of the key issues that we are facing as a sector and the chance to hear how other industries and professionals are overcoming similar challenges with new ideas and ways of working.  Central to all of it, of course, is the thoroughbred.

“We are very grateful to Lydia for hosting the event for a second year and to the expert speakers and panellists and all of our conference partners for their support of this event. A final thanks must go to Tattersalls for providing the venue, allowing us to put on this event. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and will be canvassing the opinions of members and attendees for next year’s programme.”

Sessions on the Horse, People and Business covered across the day.


The morning session explored other key areas related to the Horse, touching on the important and topical subject of the role of ethics in the use of horses in sport with Prof. Madeleine Campbell, (Independent Director of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain), giving a thought-provoking speech on how we can take steps to safeguard the sport by using scientific evidence as the basis for policy, along with a commitment to continually challenge ourselves about what best practice should look like, which would help enhance public perception of the use of animals in sport.

Host, Lydia Hislop was joined for an interactive panel session on why aftercare services and funding are so vital to the industry, with Dr Roly Owers OBE from World Horse Welfare, Philippa Gilmore from RoR, Dr Ian Cameron from Rossdales, along with Louise Robson from Thoroughbred Dressage.

Prior to the lunch break, guests were treated to a visit from re-trained racehorse and RoR Champion in 2019 and 2020, Quadrille with a live Q&A with Louise Robson in the parade ring. Bred by the late HM Queen Elizabeth II and now owned by the HM King Charles III, Quadrille was also joined by Joe Grimwade, TBA Industry Recruitment Consultant who had foaled him at The Royal Studs in 2007 and Oliver Nash who looked after him as a yearling.

The first session of the afternoon included a compelling talk from Dr Gemma Pearson on how positive and negative reinforcement methods can benefit horse handling techniques by training the behavioural responses required from thoroughbreds, thereby reducing their stress levels and keeping stud staff safe. This was followed by a presentation from Horseracing Industry People Board Chairman Neil Hayward, and panel session with Joe Bradley (National Stud), Eileen Harte (Keith Harte Bloodstock) and Adam Holland (Godolphin Flying Start 2024) which focused on the industry’s people and covered the importance of the required skillsets on stud farms; how to retain staff with progressive career pathways and continued investment in training and education; and the value of positive working environments.

The final topic of the afternoon looked at the Business side of the industry with Stephane Bazire from Silverstone on the race to net zero, as well as an update from Sarah Wynn at ADAS in relation to the recently developed Stud Farm Carbon Calculator which was launched in November 2023. Sarah shared some fascinating insight on the baseline footprints being recorded by stud farms across the country, in an effort to reduce their carbon emissions and run more efficient businesses.

The final session welcomed Dr Kanichi Kusano from the Japanese Racing Authority, who presented on the structure of Japanese racing built over a 30-year period followed by a Q&A with the audience and TBA Chairman, Philip Newton.

The event also featured a marketplace, with representatives from the day’s partners including Tattersalls Online, Farm & Stable, George Smith Horseboxes, Redmills, The National Stud, British Horseracing Authority, Dengie, Racing Welfare, Retraining of Racehorses, Horse Welfare Board, TB-Ed and Weatherbys.

Videos of each session from the day will be available to watch on TB-Ed, the TBA’s online learning platform www.tb-ed.co.uk in due course. TBA ACCESS subscribers can view resources including videos and podcasts for FREE.