Thursday 7th April 2016

New Research Projects and Scholarships Starting in 2016


For immediate release, Thursday 7th April 2016

 New research projects and scholarships starting in 2016

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme for 2016 includes:

  • 4 Major Research Projects
  • 4 Small Research Projects
  • 2 Senior Clinical Scholarships
  • 3 Equine Post Doctoral Fellowships  
  • 2 Infectious Disease Programmes

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will again be managing new veterinary scientific research investment on behalf of the Racing Foundation, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) and the British European Breeders Fund (BEBF).  In addition to the funding allocation approved by HBLB of £1.55m (2015: £1.8m), £133,500 has been made available by the Foundation, while the TBA and BEBF have chosen to support two of the new Post Doctoral Fellowships with £352,000 and £60,000 respectively over three years.   In addition, both the TBA and ROA contribute towards the Equine Infectious Disease Service.

The opening of the 2016 application round will be announced shortly.

Professor Celia Marr, Chair of the HBLB’s VAC, said:

Our research and education programme has to be both scientifically robust and clearly relevant to the racing, breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds and I am pleased that, with the support of our funding partners, we have been able to award some very exciting and high quality projects this year.  

 “It’s excellent that the Racing Foundation, the TBA and the BEBF are continuing to invest in veterinary research and that the infectious disease programmes continue to be supported by the TBA and ROA.  I appreciate particularly the endorsement for our new initiative, the Post Doctoral Fellowships. The VAC will again be responsible for managing all the projects, making sure that the funders are kept up to date with progress.”

Louise Kemble, Chief Executive of the TBA, said:

The TBA is fully committed to supporting equine science research which directly benefits the breeding and welfare of the Thoroughbred horse.  Our support for Belinda Rose's post-doctoral study on placentation and pregnancy loss will ensure that       her excellent PhD work on early pregnancy failure, also funded by the TBA, can make further progress to improve Thoroughbred mare fertility.

“We are also pleased to be joining with the HBLB and the British European Breeders Fund to co-fund research aimed at finding alternative therapies for controlling cyathostomes, which is crucial in the current climate of increased anthelmintic resistance on stud farms."

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of The Racing Foundation, said:

The Racing Foundation is pleased to be able to fund two new applied research projects. One, investigating the use of allogenic equine embryonic stem cells for tendon regeneration, will develop existing stem cell therapeutics further with the potential to impact how injured racehorses are restored to full fitness.  The other, research into recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (known as ‘roaring’) will provide a major step towards finding a treatment for the condition that causes poor performance in racehorses.  Both projects, therefore, will be aiming to deliver very practical benefits for the horseracing and thoroughbred breeding industry."

Philip Freedman, Chairman of the BEBF, commented:

The BEBF remains committed to its assistance in the funding of veterinary research.  Thoroughbred stallion studs provide the core funding for the EBF and this vital research will not only benefit Thoroughbred breeders, but, in turn, the wider equine community.

All grant applications are assessed by the HBLB’s VAC and by external experts in accordance with the established procedure before being discussed with the Foundation, the BEBF and TBA.  In addition, the VAC benefits from the advice of the British Horseracing Authority’s Veterinary Committee in selecting projects for funding.

Examples of the areas being covered by work starting this year are:

  • Early detection of tendon damage and new repair techniques  
  • Causes and consequences of roaring
  • Inflammatory airway disease
  • All weather track safety
  • Identification of potential musculoskeletal problems
  • Development of new cardiac assessment equipment
  • Equine influenza
  • Parasites on studs
  • Early pregnancy loss

For further information please contact:
Professor Celia Marr
HBLB Veterinary Advisory Committee

Tansy Challis
Grants Manager, The Racing Foundation
07709 954620

Annie Dodd 
HBLB Grants Manager
020 7333 0043                                                                                           


Notes for editors:

The Horserace Betting Levy Board is a statutory body operating in accordance with the provisions of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 (as amended). Its purpose is to assess and collect monetary contributions from bookmakers via a levy, which it distributes for the improvement of horseracing and breeds of horses, and for the advancement of veterinary science and education.

The outcomes of HBLB-funded work are published in peer reviewed scientific journals and lay summaries are available at

The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the charity, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297). Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted just under £4million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education, training and participation, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.‚Äč

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association is the only official body representing thoroughbred breeders in Great Britain. Membership is open to everyone with an interest in breeding thoroughbreds, be it as an active breeder or an interested follower, in the UK, Europe and beyond.

The BEBF is the British division of the European Breeders Fund which was established in 1983 and is funded predominantly by contributions from stallion owners in member countries.  Over €100m has now been allocated to the European racing industry by the EBF.  

The HBLB’s agreed strategic research priorities are:

  1. Improved prevention of current and emerging infectious diseases by the development of more effective vaccines, diagnostic tools, biosecurity and management strategies;
  2. Improved training environment and racecourse design and surfaces, riding strategies, tack and equipment to enhance the safety, health and well-being of racehorses;
  3. Improved methods of identification, management and prevention of musculoskeletal disease and injury in Thoroughbreds;
  4. Improved male and female reproductive efficiency.

Introduced in 2016, the Equine Post Doctoral Fellowships are aimed at exceptional veterinary PhDs, with the skills and aptitude to develop a leading academic or clinical academic career in equine veterinary sciences with particular focus on Thoroughbred racing, breeding and/or rearing.