Better to ensure we can cover more races and provide more chances
Scheme chairman states the reasons behind bonus change
It was extremely rewarding at our recent meeting on Plus 10 to note that in 2016 alone, 257 individual owners and almost 280 individual breeding entities were rewarded with a £10,000 bonus.
Since the start of the scheme in spring 2015, more than 800 bonuses have been won across Britain and Ireland and more than £8 million paid out, benefiting a total 800 individual owners and breeders.
The vast majority of comments received by the Plus 10 team are positive and constructive and it is exciting, if slightly more costly to the scheme, to receive calls from racecourses that are upgrading their races with more prize-money to qualify for a Plus 10 bonus.
The number of Plus 10 races staged in Britain this year has risen by about 50 races, significantly lifting total payouts on British tracks to about £3.4m. With the addition of the Irish races, the result is a scheme that has expanded from 550 to 600 races.
The scheme originally set out with a number of aims and while we cannot claim that much credit for the increase in horse numbers, the field sizes for Plus 10 races compare favourably with non-Plus 10 races and the median price of yearlings at most sales is higher than those not nominated to Plus 10.
There are definitely buyers who target Plus 10-registered horses at sales and every breeder should consider registering when, in most cases, just one additional bid would more than pay for the foal and yearling registration costs.
The Plus 10 team has worked hard both in Britain and Ireland to explain and promote the scheme and I hope breeders and buyers alike feel that they are kept well informed.
The success of Plus 10 and the conversion of more races to qualify for the bonus have meant that we have slightly exceeded our planned budget in 2016.
We therefore propose to limit every horse to winning only one bonus from April 1, 2017. We believe that most entrants to Plus 10 do so in the expectation and hope of winning that first bonus and we consider that it is better to ensure that we can cover more races and provide more opportunities, rather than giving a second bonus.
Owner behaviour and recruitment is essential to our sport and we need every incentive available to encourage new and existing owners to invest in racehorses. A targeted bonus that rewards that first win is what Plus 10 tries to achieve.
The success of Plus 10 is so far encouraging and if we can find further financial support we will be able to provide bonuses for many more three-year-old maidens where currently we only cover 55 races in Britain, almost entirely programmed for the benefit of fillies.
I urge everyone from breeders to trainers to think hard about what difference the availability of such a bonus makes to an owner’s experience of winning that first race and those who do not currently register their foal and yearling to think again.