Monday 20th June 2022

New HBLB Veterinary Science Research and Education Awards starting in 2022, New VAC Appointments and 2022 Application Round

 

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme has been increased to £2.6m from £2m in recognition of the importance of this key area for the sport and for the benefit of the Thoroughbred. 

For 2022 the new activity, which is listed below, supported includes:

  • 5 Major Research Projects
  • 6 Small Research Projects
  • 5 Scholarships
  • 1 Equine Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2 Infectious Disease Surveillance Programmes

HBLB is also pleased to recognise the contributions being made by:

  • The Racing Foundation, which will again be supporting equine veterinary scientific research, providing £200,000 split between one of the major projects, the Post-Doctoral Fellowship and the small projects.
  • The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA), which has committed to share with HBLB the costs of one Research Scholarship and one major project, both of integral importance to the breeding industry.
  • The Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust, which HBLB welcomes as a new partner funder.  The Trust is jointly funding the new small projects with the Racing Foundation.  

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will continue to manage ongoing projects and educational awards being funded by The Racing Foundation, the TBA and the British European Breeders’ Fund (BEBF). In addition, both the TBA and Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) contribute towards the Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance work.

Professor Sandy Love, Chair of the HBLB’s VAC, said:

We have an interesting range of new work starting this year, all highly relevant to current issues within the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.  The HBLB’s increased financial commitment is tremendous news as is the new participation of the Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust.  Gerald was a great friend to our sport and enormously knowledgeable about racing and breeding.  It’s delightful that he is still involved through his Trust.

“The full list of new awards is attached.

“The 2022 application round, for awards to start in 2023/24, will open on 21 June 2022.

”I am very pleased too to announce the new line-up of the VAC.  I am very excited to be working with such a committed team. We are very sorry indeed to lose Colin Farquharson, Chris Proudman and, from last December, Rob van Pelt.  They have been huge contributors to the VAC’s work.  However, being a VAC member is very demanding and we have to let people go eventually.”

 

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

At The Racing Foundation our purpose is to be a catalyst for improvement within the industry by providing charitable grants to impactful projects.

“To date, we have provided over £1.5million of support for equine science research projects to enable work that will ultimately lead to practical benefits and improvements to Thoroughbred welfare.  

“We are delighted to be supporting the RVC’s research into Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER) to develop a better understanding of how to prevent ‘tying up’.

“We are also delighted to be supporting our first equine science post-doc research project through Dr Rebecca Mouncey’s study into why some foals do not progress to the racecourse and the outcomes of those that don’t.

“This project is highly relevant to the racing and breeding industries and integral to the Horse Welfare Board’s aftercare work that forms part of the ‘A Life Well Lived’ welfare strategy.

“Our pledge to support equine science research continues in 2022 with a further commitment of £200k for projects that will commence in 2023.”

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TBAClaire Sheppard, CEO of the TBA said:

The TBA is delighted to co-fund two exciting new pieces of research that align with our purpose to encourage the improvement of the Thoroughbred horse in Great Britain.  Dr Mandi de Mestre and her team at the RVC have previously produced excellent research into early pregnancy loss funded by the TBA, and we look forward to advancing this research further.  In supporting a research scholarship about musculoskeletal disorders in new born foals, we hope this will benefit breeders and the horses in their care, and also support the HBLB’s aim to develop future veterinary research scientists”.

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Greald Leigh Charitable TrustFrom Sarah Whitney of the Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust:

For the first time, the Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust is very pleased to be co-funding three research projects with the Racing Foundation as part of the HBLB’s Equine Science Research Small Projects Grants Programme and in due course, we very much look forward to learning their findings.  We consider that welfare of the thoroughbred racehorse and improvement of the breed are of paramount importance to our Bloodstock Industry.”       

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British Horseracing AuthorityComment from James Given, BHA Director of Equine Health and Welfare:

“Research funded by the HBLB covers many important areas that benefit racehorse welfare. However, the social licence that allows racing to continue is challenged and judged primarily over fatalities. I think it is vitally important we address this and therefore I would welcome research proposals that directly help reduce fatalities and/or secure the social licence to allow horseracing to prosper and thrive.”      

 


 

New VAC Appointments

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has approved the appointments of seven new Members of the VAC. It is unusual to be introducing so many new Members at the same time, but this is a consequence of appointment extensions while HBLB’s future was in question.  In addition, the Board has agreed to expand the overall size of the Committee in recognition of the demands at critical points of the year.

The Board and the VAC are very pleased to welcome the following new Members who joined on 1 June 2022:

Prof Mark Bowen BVSc,PhD,MMS,FRCVS Formerly at Nottingham vet school; now independent consultant in equine cardiology and on the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation
Patrick Sells BVSc,BSc MRCVS Clinical specialist in reproduction, neonatology, stud medicine
Dr Ellen Singer BA,DVM,DVSc,MRCVS Formerly at Liverpool vet school; now in practice as equine surgery and orthopaedics specialist 
Dr Katherine Staines BSc, PhD Senior Lecturer University of Brighton specialising in musculoskeletal biology and orthopaedics

                                                                           

Also joining the VAC, from 1 January 2023, will be:

Dr Emma Adam BVetMed, PhD, MRCVS Assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, leading on equine stakeholder outreach and liaison; research structure; and veterinary CPD
Prof John Burford MA, VetMB, PhD,FRCVS Clinical and research specialist in equine surgery at the University of Nottingham vet school
Prof Lutz Goehring DVM, MS, PhD  Professor of Equine Infectious Diseases, the Gluck institute, University of Kentucky

                               


 

2022 Application Round

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is inviting applications for equine veterinary research and education grants to start from April 2023.   Applications open on 21 June 2022.  Details on the five award types and how to apply appear below.

The HBLB’s strategic research priorities are aligned with the outcomes of the Horse Welfare Board’s strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing (2020-2024):

  1. Best possible quality of life, which include all aspects of healthcare, husbandry and disease control (e.g. improved methods of disease diagnosis, more effective vaccines, biosecurity and disease prevention strategies, antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance)
  2. Best possible safety and well-being during breeding, training and racing (e.g. enhancement of diagnostic methods and restoration techniques after musculo-skeletal disease and injury, safer training and racing practices, minimisation of fatal and non-fatal injury)
  3. Lifetime responsibility for equine health (e.g. optimal health of breeding Thoroughbreds and youngstock, reproductive efficiency, evaluation of factors affecting transition to post-racing careers)

For further information please contact:

Professor Emeritus Sandy Love
Chair, HBLB Veterinary Advisory Commitee
via equine.grants@hblb.org.uk
Tansy Challis 
Grants Manager, The Racing Foundation 
tansy.challis@racingfoundation.co.uk
Annie Dodd
HBLB Grants Manager
020 7333 0043   annie.dodd@hblb.org.uk 
Victoria Murrell
The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association
victoria.murrell@thetba.co.uk
Sarah Whitney
The Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust
sarah@sarahwhitney.co.uk
 

 

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Notes for editors:

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) 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.  Lay summaries are posted on racehorsehealth.hblb.org.uk.  Please note that this blog is under revision, but will be available again from 1 September 2022.

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In 2012 The Racing Foundation was established to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within the racing and thoroughbred industries following the sale of the Tote. Since inception it has awarded £30million in grants. People, equine welfare, community engagement and environment and emerging issues are the key areas of focus in the latest strategy. The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Julia Budd (Chair), Linda Bowles, Susannah Gill, Mark Johnston, Louise Kemble, Alice Page and Algy Smith-Maxwell. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the Racing Foundation, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297).  www.racingfoundation.co.uk           @RacingGrants

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The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association was established in 1917 and remains committed to the long-term future of the British Thoroughbred and the interests of the British breeder. The charity strives to safeguard the health and welfare of the Thoroughbred for the overall improvement of the breed. This includes delivering training and education opportunities to ensure best practice on stud farms, veterinary research to maintain the highest health standards, and the encouragement of diversity within the breed for a stronger, more resilient Thoroughbred. The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (registered as a charitable company in England; company number 07073259, charity number 1134293). 

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The Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust was established in 1974 and, since its inception, has made regular donations to a range of worthy causes which focused on bloodstock, medical research and education.   For many years, the Trust has been pleased to support various veterinary research projects which still remain one of its key charitable objectives moving forward.  Gerald Leigh was a prominent owner breeder of racehorses based at Eydon Hall Farm in Northamptonshire.  He established himself as a leading international breeder by developing strong families with a small but select band of broodmares.  On the racecourse he achieved Classic and Group 1 winners throughout the world.  In 1994, his homebred, Barathea won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in a course record and in 1990, Markofdistinction delivered a first Group 1 success for jockey Frankie Dettori in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.  Among Mr Leigh’s commercial successes in the sales ring, his broodmare Korveya sold for a world-record $7 million in 1998.

HBLB Equine Scientific and Education Awards 2022

 (TBA = Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association; RF = The Racing Foundation; GLCT = The Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust)

Major Projects

 

Project Title

Funding

Partners

Prof Janet Daly

Nottingham

Development of a safe and effective African Horse Sickness vaccine

 

Dr Kamalan Jeevaratnam

Surrey

Artificial intelligence-based solutions for racecourse dilemmas; novel computational approaches and evidence-based clinical decision-making in equine exercise-associated arthythmia

 

Dr Mandi de Mestre

Royal Veterinary College (RVC)

Development of a non-invasive diagnostic test to assess fetal health in the pregnant mare

TBA

Dr Androniki Psifidi

RVC

Aetiopathogenesis and genetic architecture of recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) in UK Thoroughbred horses

RF

Prof Kristien Verheyen

RVC

Life after Racing: Who’s a winner?

 

Small Projects

 

Project Title

 

Prof Steve Bull

Bath

Novel bio-derived repellents for the protection of horses against biting insects including horseflies, midges and ticks

RF

Prof Janet Daly

Nottingham

Improving surveillance techniques to identify key Tabanid (biting fly) species as potential vectors of equine viruses

RF 

Dr Rachel Murray

Rossdales

Validation of standing cone beam computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging against pathological examination for detection of prodromal fetlock injury

RF & GLCT

Prof Mandy Peffers

Liverpool

Do platelet rich plasma (PRP) derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) contribute towards rescuing the inflammatory tendon phenotype?

RF

Dr Sandy Shanklin

Liverpool

The impact of metallic implants used in equine fracture repair on low-field MRI findings and identification of suitable scanning protocols to reduce this impact

RF & GLCT

Dr Simon Tew

Liverpool

Improving the annotation of genes across the equine genome

RF & GLCT

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

 

 

 

Rebecca Mouncey

RVC

Epidemiology and Economics of Thoroughbred Breeding

RF

Research Scholarships

 

 

 

Dr Kate Allen

Bristol

Advanced analytics applied to endoscopic analysis of upper airway function

 

Dr Mandi de Mestre

RVC

Epidemiology and genetics of congenital musculoskeletal disorders in neonatal Thoroughbreds

TBA

Prof Paul Pryor

York

Mechanistic insights into VapA and the treatment of Rhodococcus equi

 

Clinical Scholarships

 

 

 

Prof Debbie Archer

Liverpool

Measuring local strain distributions through the equine  SDFT as a novel non-invasive marker of tendon function and healing

 

Prof Roger Smith

RVC

Novel non-invasive predictor of tendon function with and without injury

 

 

2022 Application Round

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is inviting applications for equine veterinary research and education grants to start from April 2023.   Applications open on 21 June 2022. The website and links will not be activated before then, so do not try to access before midday on 21 June.

All applications will be subject to the normal HBLB review process.

There are five award types: 

RESEARCH PROJECT GRANTS                                   Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 19 September 2022

The HBLB supports scientifically robust research projects to benefit the racing, breeding and rearing of the Thoroughbred.  Innovative and novel research approaches are encouraged and all applications will be subject to peer review and full evaluation by the Board’s VAC.

Applications are made online via the HBLB’s Equine Grants System. Visit the ‘Support for Veterinary Science and Education’ section on the HBLB website for information on:

  • Research priorities and scope
  • Eligibility
  • Applications
  • ‚ÄčOther activity in the veterinary sphere

 

SMALL PROJECT GRANTS                                                Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 31 October 2022

This fund supports research focusing on specific issues of direct and immediate practical importance to the Thoroughbred.  The grants are open to individuals employed by veterinary schools, universities and research institutes, veterinary practitioners or elsewhere in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.  HBLB is particularly interested in receiving applications from clinicians, farriers and others involved directly in the care of horses.  Projects are limited to one year with costs restricted to around £10,000. 

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the ‘Support for Veterinary Science and Education’ section on www.hblb.org.uk.

  

EDUCATION AWARDS                                                    Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 19 September 2022

The two types of scholarships are as follows:

  • Veterinary Research Training Scholarships offer four-year funding to pursue a PhD programme in any scientific or veterinary field relevant to equines and particularly the racing, breeding or rearing of Thoroughbreds.
Research Training Scholarships are open to veterinary graduates or non-veterinary science graduates.   The requirements regarding the subject of the PhD will be the same for graduates in either discipline.
  • Senior Equine Clinical Scholarships allow veterinary graduates with at least two years’ practical experience to train for a higher qualification, such as a European Diploma, over four years. The qualification must be in an equine field with particular relevance to the Thoroughbred.

Applications for both types of award must be made by the prospective supervisor within an eligible institution, such as a university veterinary school, other university department or research institute. Awards include a tax-free stipend to cover living costs and an expense allowance for research costs and other purposes directly relevant to the scholarship.

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the ‘Support for Veterinary Science and Education’  section on www.hblb.org.uk.

 

EQUINE POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP               Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 19 September 2022

The HBLB is again inviting applications from recent veterinary PhD graduates for a post-doctoral fellowship. 

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. The area of research must be focused on Thoroughbred racing, breeding or rearing.  The fellowship will be tenable for three years. 

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the ‘Support for Veterinary Science and Education’ section on www.hblb.org.uk.

For further information please contact Annie Dodd, Grants Manager at the Levy Board, at equine.grants@hblb.org.uk.