Media Centre

'Doing nothing is not an option' - David Redvers

Newmarket-based bloodstock agent Larry Stratton writes:

FEDERATION of Bloodstock Agents secretary-general Andrew Mead joined the chorus invoking the support of vendors for the Racing Post Yearling Bonus (Racing Post, June 25), dropping some biggish names among agents supposedly in favour of the scheme in doing so, although he will know from conversation and correspondence with me that he cannot claim unanimity among his members on this.

But in common with other industry worthies quoted over the past two weeks in support of the scheme, his letter is long on platitude, goodwill and applause for the initiative, short on detail as to how it will be of benefit in quantitative terms.

The model on which the proposed scheme is based is the breeze-up bonus, anecdotal evidence about which, we are told, suggests it was a success. But anecdotal evidence that I am aware of from the Doncaster sale was to the contrary, vendors and buyers alike asserting that it made no difference to either their return or their buying strategy.

And empirical evidence from the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up sale (64 lots unsold from 137  offered) shows that the presence of the breeze-up bonus was of no assistance at all in getting horses sold there.

As to the defence being used by those promoting the scheme that they did not have enough time to consult more widely among breeders and vendors (those being asked to put their hands deepest into their pockets here, don't forget), I find this disingenuous in the extreme.

The promotions committee seemed to find ample time to consult with sales companies, racecourses, various administrative bodies such as the British Horseracing Authority, Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association,  National Trainers' Federation, FBA –  and each other – ad infinitum over several weeks.

Perhaps they avoided canvassing the views of the masses for fear that the masses might have something to say that they didn’t want to hear.

Racing Post Yearling Bonus committee member David Redvers replies:

LARRY Stratton is a lone voice in a hugely  supportive FBA whose council voted to a member to support the financial set-up costs of the Racing Post Yearling Bonus, and one that is out of sync with the vast majority of breeders, vendors and the industry.

When consulted and asked for his alternative, it was to do nothing. I, for one, am selling 35 yearlings this autumn and do  not see that as an option. It is my belief that the Racing Post Yearling Bonus will generate much-needed trade and good will, and further strengthen our argument for improved prize-money levels.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but some of us are keen to make a difference for the good of the whole, while others would rather sit and snipe from the outside without offering anything constructive.

We make no claims that the scheme is perfect or will singlehandedly save the industry. However, it is a one-year pilot to be reviewed and improved, and is a significant step in the right direction. I urge everyone to support it and help shape our industry's future for the better.




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