Rausing urges breeders to look for opportunities
THOROUGHBRED Breeders Association chairman Kirsten Rausing faced up to the inevitable topic of the economic downturn when she addressed members at yesterday's 92nd annual meeting in London yesterday, but she stopped well short of painting the Doomsday picture that some commentators are forecasting.
"No one was prepared for the world to be turned on its head," said RausingPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Instead, while urging breeders "to take a careful look at their business", she said they should "not overlook the opportunities this recession can provide in terms of upgrading their stock."
Rausing, who recalled that at the same forum a year ago, on assuming the chairmanship, she had voiced concerns about overproduction and "the need for a large dose of realism", said: "Nobody was prepared for the world to be turned on its head by the collapse of household names and institutions, resulting in what is predicted to be the deepest recession in Englandfor some 70 years.
"I am not going to urge British breeders to cull all their mares, and I am not going to paint a scenario whereby this great Industry is lost for future generations.
"But I am going to urge breeders to take a careful look at their business, and remind the racing authorities that the health of this industry is crucial to the sport of horseracing, for which we all care passionately."
She added: "Whilst a severe correction will be necessary for some, others should not overlook the opportunities this recession can provide in terms of upgrading their stock, and to share the advice of a wise older statesman, ‘inuncertain times keep your savings in a commodity that you know and understand. The TBA is the one body that has the interests of the horse at its heart.
"For that reason alone, we must continue to encourage British breeders todo what they do best, but be mindful of the need to take a careful look at the quality of their mares."
With that, Rausing moved swiftly on to explaining what the TBA was doing to counter the impact of the recession on its own affairs.
She revealed that auctioneers Brightwells had joined Tattersalls and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in collecting the voluntary sales levy, which supports TBA funding.
The auction houses have also agreed to identify vendors who do not pay the levy, which she said would "address the need to hold individual discussions with some breeders who have previously not contributed to the levy and may welcome the opportunity to discuss their reservations."
Gaining new members and especially recruiting candidates for the council were of special importance, Rausing said. To this end, the "next generation committee", made up of under 35s considered to be the decision makers of the future, which held its inaugural meeting in October, promised to be an exciting new initiative, she added, explaining: "I have high hopes that it will identify and develop the council members of the future."
Rausing referred to "the excellent relationship with the Racehorse Owners' Association", which had extended to jointly launching a free lease exchange.
"This provides a platform for putting breeders in touch with owners, for the purpose of securing homes for unsold Flat yearlings from the 2008 sales, with the intention of extending this to NH stores and older horses, in due course," she said, adding that it had already secured 31 two-year-olds for the register.
Rausing concluded: "I look forward to the challenges ahead, and whilst my crystal ball is a little cloudy, I do see some rays of sunshine on the horizon.
"I encourage you all to remain loyal to the Industry and retain your passion for the horse through these troubled times."