Wednesday 2nd January 2008
The Horserace Betting Levy Board has confirmed a funding allocation of £1,920,000 for the 2008 Breeders' Prizes Scheme, which is designed to improve the quality of the British Thoroughbred via upgrading the quality of the breeding stock.
The funding includes the provision, if required, of a £300,000 under spend rollover from 2007.
The 2008 Flat Race Scheme remains unchanged. Races will continue to be graded by distance category with winners in Category 1 (below 7 furlongs) receiving the basic award, winners in Category 2 (at least 7 furlongs but below 11) receiving twice the basic award; and winners in Category 3 (races of 11 furlongs and beyond) receiving three times the basic award. There will continue to be a cap of £5,000 on Category 1, £7,500 on Category 2 and £10,000 on Category 3.
National Hunt Races
Qualifying races remain the same as in 2007: Steeplechases in Classes 1 – 4, all Graded, Listed and Class 1 Hurdle Races, Class 2 – 4 NH Novice and NH Maiden Hurdle Races and all NH Flat races.
Following the Levy Board's request that the NH Scheme should undergo a full review in 2007, the Levy Board supported the TBA's proposal to introduce a two-tier scheme with effect from 2008. Horses qualified under the existing criteria will continue to receive 100% of the advertised HBLB Breeders’ Prize. However, the eligibility criteria have now been extended to provide a second tier of prizes at 40% of the full prize to the breeder of a winner of a qualifying race. Second tier horses are still required to comply with Rule 196 (i) and (ii) but in a change from the 2007 Rules, the horse may have initially run on the Flat, and/or be the produce of an overseas-based sire and/or have been sold as a foal at public auction outside Great Britain. Full details of this Rule change have been advertised in the Racing Calendar.
The Levy Board also sanctioned the inclusion of a voucher system awarded annually to top-class NH race mares to be used to purchase nominations to any British-based stallion with effect from the 2009 breeding season. Connections of the leading mares at the end of the 2008 NH season, irrespective of where they are trained, will be offered an incentive of up to £5,000 per mare to retain and base their mare in Great Britain for their first breeding season. Full details, together with the first list of eligible fillies/mares, will be published at the end of the 2007/2008 NH season in May, 2008.
Both the Flat and NH Schemes provide bonus payments to fillies and mares at 100% more than for colts and geldings subject to the differential caps. Races restricted to fillies and mares will not qualify for these additional payments.
TBA Chief Executive, Louise Kemble, said: "The HBLB Breeders' Prizes Scheme came under a lot of pressure this year as the Levy faced a squeeze on returns and, in response to calls by the TBA, members demonstrated how important the Levy Board Breeders' Prizes Scheme was to their continuing business and the Scheme was secured for a further year.
"The TBA recognizes the importance of maintaining NH breeders in this country, albeit on a much smaller scale to our Irish and French counterparts. The changes to the NH Scheme are aimed primarily at supporting British NH mare owners, the foundation of the industry. NH breeders are no longer penalised if the progeny has its first run on the Flat, they are encouraged to use the most suitable stallions for their mare irrespective of where the stallion stands and, should they wish to sell the offspring as a foal, they have freedom to offer the foal at any public auction.
“In the longer term, the new voucher scheme concept aims to encourage greater support from top-class NH mares for British-based stallions and encourage leading NH mare owners to retain their best mares and invest in their futures."
HBLB Director of Racing, David Bradshaw, added: "The Board continues to support Breeders' Prizes and, after due consideration, has accepted the 2008 proposals put forward by the TBA. However, the funding allocation to Breeders’ Prizes will be reviewed, along with all other heads of expenditure, at the Board’s 2008 Strategy Review Meeting."