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Indian market to be opened to British stock

BRITISH breeders will be able to sell to the potentially lucrative Indian bloodstock market at this year's Tattersalls December sales in Newmarket for the first time in a decade, provided no case of contagious equine metritis (CEM) is notified in the meantime.

Breeding stock has been banned from entering India because Britain could not provide an undertaking that the country had been free of CEM for three years.

However, lengthy negotiations led by the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association have persuaded the Indian authorities to reduce the period to 20 months.

The new qualifying period will end a few days before the start of the Tattersalls sale, at which Indian purchasers had long exerted a significant impact at the middle to lower end of the market.

Britain has not been able to meet the three-year limit because of a single case of CEM, a sexually transmitted, bacterial disease that is subject to a strict voluntary code of practice in the major European breeding countries.

That the last outbreak occurred in a non-thoroughbred undergoing quarantine en route between central Europe and the US, and the disease does not pose a risk to the life of affected animals, nor humans, has puzzled senior British bloodstock sources seeking a reason for the strong stance taken by the Indian authorities.

They have been further perplexed by the fact that over the last two years 165 mares bought on behalf of Indian clients from sales in Ireland were shipped through Heathrow airport.

The TBA has estimated that the active promotion of Ireland as an alternative option has led to a loss of more than £3.65 million in revenue to Britain since 2006.

TBA chairman Kirsten Rausing said yesterday: "It's marvellous news that India has significantly reduced the qualifying period for CEM, and we're very grateful for the help we have had from the leading veterinarian Prof Uppal in India, as well as Richard Newton, Sidney Ricketts and Richard Greenwood over here.

"The breeding industries of Britain and India need each other, one as a seller and the other as a buyer, and everyone should be delighted that trading can resume."

The first steps to publicise the fresh opportunities will betaken next week, when Gavin Pritchard-Gordon, head of British Bloodstock Marketing, is due to make a four-day visit to Bangalore.

 

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