Owners association facing mounting pressure
Mike Deasy on the continued pressure faced by the Racehorse Owners Association after the poor response to its ownership strategy document
If the Racehorse Owners Association thought their defence of its poorly received report setting out their industry ownership plan had placated critics, they thought wrong. Leading the criticism is Jon Hughes of the Keep Owners In Racing pressure group and who is involved in 21 horses with five trainers. He has attacked the ROA for the time it has taken to produce the report which was commissioned in 2017, the £1.2m spent in the form of Levy Board funding for the project, and the disappointing content of the final report issued last week.
In his latest salvo, Hughes has written to the chair of the British Horseracing Board, Annamarie Phelps, requesting an inquiry into the use of Levy Board funds in the compilation of the report.
He has also written to the ROA board claiming poor use of funds and poor leadership on the strategy, and has called for the formation of focus group comprising owners, trainers, syndicators and racecourses, to urgently address the drop in ownership numbers. But Hughes is not alone.
The Racing Post was less than enthusiastic about the report with Peter Scargill saying in a Comment piece the report “lacks detail, lacks substance and lacks clear and unequivocal measurements and costings to drive British ownership out of its death spiral and on a prosperous trajectory.”
It won’t be easy for the BHA be critical of the ROA, however inept it may seem in producing such a lacklustre document, particularly as unity among racing’s stakeholders, which is always fragile, is a major priority. But it is hard to deny that an enormous amount of money has produced not very much.
By my reckoning the report cost over £72,000 per page for little in the way of substance. ♦ You can view the report here https://www.roa.co.uk/get-involved/publications/roa-strategy2/roa-strategy-document.html
It’s good to talk – and listen
Racing Welfare has launched a new podcast, On Track – Off Course, which discusses all aspects of wellbeing, including everything from mental health and physical health to careers and money issues, with people from the racing industry.
Whilst most of us are followers of racing rather than participants, we are just as prone to the issues which everyday life throws at us, especially during the Covid pandemic.
Racing Welfare have lined up racing personalities to talk about a range of issues that we rarely hear them discuss. They will also be bringing stories from inside the industry as well as top tips, advice and guidance from experts.
In this first episode, they talk to racing broadcaster of the year Lydia Hislop about the recent death of her mother, Margaret, and the impact this has had on both her personal and professional life. M
Lydia is incredibly open and honest on a topic that is often so hard to discuss and the hope is that people affected by bereavement find the conversations helpful. I lost my mother 18 months ago but even now there are touch-points in the conversation that I can still relate to. M
But let me leave the you with the words of Lydia Hislop: “We’re all increasingly conscious of the tangible impact that our mental health has on our lives and on those around us. Yet we still struggle to talk openly about those very issues that affect our health and happiness.
“In this, racing is no different from any other walk of life. Racing Welfare’s new podcast is a positive attempt to address this damaging reticence. Each week, Lauren [Braithwaite] and Tina [Scargill] encourage us to talk frankly about the human problems that we all grapple with by getting guests to share their personal stories and providing expert advice.
“Grief, with its isolating and debilitating consequences, was the subject I discussed in the opening episode of On Track, Off Course following the death of my mother earlier this year. However, it’s a feeling we all experience at some point in our lives and this conversation is perhaps more urgent than ever in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I urge you to tune in weekly for this timely and courageous initiative. You never know when what’s said will be of help to you or to someone whom you love.”
♦ You can hear the podcast here https://racingwelfare.co.uk/podcast/