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Breeders vent anger
over 'retrograde' bonus

BREEDERS on both sides of the Irish Sea have criticised the British Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme (Bobis), which was on Monday confirmed by the BHA to be going ahead next year.

The initiative, which was developed by the BHA and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, offers a prize-money incentive of £6,000 for nominated horses - who must be by a British-based stallion or out of a British-domiciled mare - in a Class 2-4 race or Class 5 fillies' maiden.

The scheme could next year go head to head with the Racing Post Yearling Bonus, which is open to horses regardless of where they were bred and can be won in races in both Britain and Ireland.

Dermot Cantillon of Tinnakill House Stud in County Laois said: "Paul Thorman, a British commercial breeder who I greatly respect, said in yesterday's paper that Bobis is ‘anti-Irish' and he's right. It's a sad day for relations between British and Irish breeders.

"The Yearling Bonus scheme has worked very well. It applies to most two-year-old races and owners get a £10,000 add-on to prize-money - and that is largely subsidised by Irish breeders. The likelihood now is that the Yearling Bonus will cease.

"With Bobis, owners get a £3,600 add-on after deductions, so if the Yearling Bonus ceases they will be getting a fraction of what's on offer now - and the focus should be on encouraging the owners, as they pay the piper.

"Bobis is isolationist, foolhardy and a retrograde step. It needs reconsidering. We are an Anglo-Irish industry and we work better when we work together."

Those sentiments were echoed by Luke Lillingston of Mount Coote Stud in County Limerick, who said: "While I haven't had a chance to study the details yet, my gut feeling is I'm saddened that, after the great coming together of Britain and Ireland to produce the Yearling Bonus, which was seen as a great success, this scheme seems divisive.

"That is not a good thing during what are still very difficult times for both country's breeders. We should really be pulling together."

Richard Tucker of Nelson Farm Stud in Devon added his voice to the dissent. "The new scheme doesn't seem logical," he said. "We breed about 30 winners a year and it's a 50-50 split between Britain and Ireland and this isn't going to help the situation."

Tucker conceded the Yearling Bonus has faults but believes it is a better alternative to Bobis.

He said: "The Yearling Bonus worked, but it cost us money and it felt like we were supporting the betting industry ourselves. However, it had to be done. It was painful but it had an effect and I can't see this new fund having an effect on us as yearling and foal sellers. Therefore, what's the point of it?"

 

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