Thursday, October 24, 2013

Premier Information: Rock of Gibralter

At Premier Information, we love to look at some of the interesting things that have happened in horse racing history. We all remember the joy of watching Rock Of Gibralter race in the colours of Sir Alex Ferguson and the falling out that occurred between Coolmore and Sir Alex in a row over ownership.

It was interesting to read the article below which we reproduce courtesy of the Racing Post which outlines the circumstances.    Clearly the dust has settled!


SIR ALEX FERGUSON has claimed that his very public falling out with Coolmore Stud boss John Magnier over ownership of Rock Of Gibraltar came about as a result of a "misunderstanding on both sides" and that it did not affect his job as manager of Manchester United.

Writing in 'Alex Ferguson, My Biography' which was published on Tuesday, the now-retired manager claims to be on good terms with Magnier following the row and subsequent legal battle over his involvement in the champion racehorse who retired in 2002 with future stud fees estimated at £100 million.

Sporting Ferguson's red-and-white silks, Rock Of Gibraltar became the first in the northern hemisphere to win seven consecutive Group 1 races, surpassing a record set by Mill Reef.

Ferguson writes: "My understanding was that I had a half share in the ownership of the horse; theirs was that I would be entitled to half the prize money. But it was resolved.

"The matter was closed when we reached a settlement agreeing that there had been a misunderstanding on both sides."

In his autobiography, Ferguson notes one "awkward" situation arising from the episode when urged at a Manchester United AGM to resign over the affair at a time when Magnier was a sizeable shareholder in the club along with JP McManus.

He writes: "I have to say that at no point was I sidetracked from my duties as manager of Manchester United. It didn't affect my love of racing and I am on good terms now with John Magnier, the leading figure at Coolmore."

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Premier Information: The British Horseracing Authority

In one or two articles, we have mentioned the BHA. The BHA basically run horseracing in the UK.   Below is a summary of their activities.

It is the British Horseracing Authority’s role to ensure the continued health and successful development of the sport. As both the governing and regulatory body it is the British Horseracing Authority’s responsibility to:

  •  provide the most compelling and attractive racing in the world
  •  be seen as the world leader in raceday regulation
  •  ensure the highest standards for the sport and participants, on and away from the racecourse
  •  promote the best for the racehorse 


  •  represent and promote the sport and the industry. 

Throughout its work, the British Horseracing Authority will be:

  •  strong - providing leadership, taking tough decisions where they are needed
  •  independent - acting fairly and with integrity in the best interests of racing as a whole
  •  responsive - listening and consulting, making sure we understand issues
  •  challenging - asking hard questions, of ourselves and others
  •  open - having the confidence to explain what we think, and able to explain why
  •  dynamic - professional, innovative and focused, delivering a quality service.

As the governing and regulatory body for the sport, the British Horseracing Authority’s responsibilities are wide-ranging.

They include:

  • Race Planning, including the supervision of race programmes and the employment of Handicappers: 
  • Disciplinary procedures, both on and off the racecourse 
  • Protecting the Integrity of the sport on and off the racecourse 
  • Licensing and registering racing participants - jockeys, trainers, horses, owners and stable staff 
  • Setting and enforcing standards of Medical care for jockeys and other participants 
  • Developing and maintaining programmes of Recruitment, training and education 
  • Setting and enforcing common standards for British Racecourses 
  • Research and improvements in Equine Science and Welfare 
  • Regulating Point-to-Point racing in the UK 
  • Compilation of the Fixture List 
  • Approving the Arabian Racing fixture lists 
  • Setting and enforcing the Rules of racing 
  • Maintaining our official Retraining of Racehorses charity 
  • The conduct of a day’s racing

As well as... 

  • Strategic planning and policy for Racing 
  • Central promotion of Racing 
  • Encouraging and fostering the breeding of bloodstock 
  • Representing Racing in dealings with Government 
  • Liaison with the Betting Industry 
  • Representing British Racing abroad, which includes membership of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Premier Information: Overview of British Horseracing

Controlling Bodies

Although it is hard to pin down exactly when horses may first raced each other we can date racing’s governance in the UK back to as early as 1750 when the Jockey Club was formed. Although there have been recorded races (1174 in London being the first one) before this point it is hard to know too much about what exactly took place. The Jockey Club governed racing up until 1993 before handing over to the BHB (British Horseracing Board). The BHB stood as the governing body until merging with the HRA (Horse Racing Authority) in 2007 to create the BHA (British Horseracing Authority). The Jockey Club now runs 14 of the UK’s racecourses, in addition to Jockey Club Estates and the National Stud.

Britain’s Racecourses

There are currently 60 licensed racecourses in Britain with Chester (opened 16th Century) being the oldest and Ffos Las (opened 2009) being the newest. It is the eccentricities of these individual racecourses which make British racing so appealing. No track can be likened to another, something which cannot be said of American tracks which are all left handed and flat. Racing UK covers action from 30 British racecourses.

The Classics

There are five Classic races in Britain: the 1000 Guineas (first run 1814), the 2000 Guineas (first run 1809), the Oaks (first run 1779), the Derby (first run 1780) and the St Leger (first run 1776). Winners of these races can be guaranteed that their names will be etched into the history of racing beyond their racing days. Indeed many of the winners of Classic races go on to stamp their quality and class on their offspring when they retire to the paddocks. The most prolific classic winning stallion of the modern day is undoubtedly Galileo (2001 Derby Winner) whose progeny have been nothing short of phenomenal.


British Racing is steeped with trainers who have dominated racing on both UK shores and further afield. Present-day trainers such as Sir Henry Cecil, Sir Michael Stoute and Richard Hannon currently hold the mantle as being amongst the elite trainers of their generation. In fact, Sir Henry Cecil has an astonishing 25 classic victories to his name along with 73 Royal Ascot wins.


Ask any modern day racegoer to name a jockey and it is likely that the first name to roll off their tongue will be Frankie Dettori. This is because Frankie has been the one jockey to put racing in the spotlight on a continuous basis, as a result of his huge talent and even bigger personality. Tony McCoy has done a similar thing for Jumps racing although his talent has done the talking more than anything. These are just two great jockeys who are following in the footsteps of previous great such as Sir Gordon Richards, Fred Archer and more recently Lester Piggott.


Racing was ruled by aristocracy from the start with many large owners being wealthy landowners. While racing’s British aristocrats are still hugely involved in the game there is a broader number of owners than what there was centuries ago. The two ‘mega-powers’ of the game in the current day are John Magnier’s Coolmore operation and Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation. These highflying owners follow on from previous greats such as the Duke of Portland, HH Aga Khan III, Sir Victor Sassoon and Robert Sangster. Both men run huge operations with horses on the track and horses in paddocks with a view to breeding future superstars. Whilst owners and families come and go, it is safe to say that these two men are in it for the long haul and their legacies will have an impact on future generations of equine thoroughbreds.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Premier Information: Racing Welfare - A Jockey Club Charity

It is very easy to forget that there are many  many people working behind the scenes in racing.   Our article today is about Racing Welfare – a charity that helps those who help make horseracing what it is.

British racing and Thoroughbred breeding industry.

We give professional guidance and support to the unseen army of dedicated staff whose work is vital for the well-being of our sport.

This support makes a positive difference to people’s lives by empowering them to overcome any difficulties they face.

How do we help?

British racing is the last bastion of our rural economy where human skill and knowledge cannot be replaced by a faceless machine. Accidents can happen; and for the 70,000 or so people who work or have worked in racing and their dependents Racing Welfare exists to support them when they are in need irrespective of their occupation.

Racing Welfare helps to fund re-training for our injured stable staff; we provide welfare and social support to those living with their paralysis and life in a wheelchair or serious disability.  Racing Welfare also funds mobility aids and adaptions to properties. We help re-build lives. Through our network of regional welfare officers, Racing Welfare is the only racing Charity to help all of racing's people in times of need.

Racing Homes is the Charity's own housing association. It provides quality, safe affordable housing for those entering the industry and people who have retired from racing having dedicated a lifetime to the sport. Currently Racing Homes has 150 properties in its portfolio making us the largest housing provider in racing

Who do we help?

People like Workrider Jane McGill who whilst riding fast work on Epsom Downs in August this year suffered a fall that left her back broken and unable to ride ever again. People like Barney Bamford, an assistant trainer whose career and young family were rocked to the core by the paralysing fall he sustained on the training grounds. People like the yardman Martin Gear whose skull and nose were shattered courtesy  of a yearling’s kick in April last year, leaving him to carry bolts and plates for life that hold his skull together.

What does it cost?

Each year the Charity needs to raise £1.5 million to continue our work.

The administration costs are 13% so this means that 87p of every £1 donated goes straight towards helping racing’s people, these are the mainly unseen people working hard behind the scenes to deliver our fabulous racing entertainment.

The charity relies almost exclusively on the generous donations of racing people and racing organisations. If you love racing and care about the unsung heroes in our sport please consider supporting Racing Welfare.

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