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Great British Bonus: new prize scheme set up to safeguard fillies' programme

GBB: will offer bonuses of up to £20,000 per eligible race for British-bred fillies and mares
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The bloodstock industry has been provided with a much-needed shot in the arm after the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) on Thursday announced a new prize scheme to safeguard the future of British racing and breeding through the Great British Bonus (GBB).

The GBB will offer multiple bonuses of up to £20,000 per eligible race for British-bred fillies and mares. The aim of the bonus is to ensure that more British-bred fillies and mares are in demand as racing prospects, encouraging breeders and owners to race fillies.

It is regarded as a self-help initiative demonstrating the breeding industry's commitment to racing during these difficult economic times, borne by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is predominantly funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and registrations fee income from owners and breeders.

On the Flat, two-year-old fillies who have already paid up for Plus10 will be registered automatically, giving them the chance to win double the current Plus10 bonus, with the chance to win the bonus multiple times.

Over jumps, all NH Mare Owners' Prize Scheme-registered fillies and mares (MOPS) will be transferred immediately to the enhanced GBB scheme, which offers bonuses up to twice that of the current NH MOPS scheme. 

For Flat and National Hunt, the number of eligible races in 2020 will be dependent on the yet-to-be-finalised programme book.

TBA chairman Julian Richmond-Watson: "We are pleased to be able to deliver bonuses"

TBA chairman Julian Richmond-Watson said: "A scheme underpinning all pillars of the industry is the best way to support thoroughbred breeding operations in Britain and when key participants benefit those funds are more likely to be reinvested into the British racing industry. 

"GBB evolved from the latest economic impact studies commissioned by the TBA and after extensive collaboration across the industry it will focus on assisting key areas of the race programme and horse population that can shape the future diversity of the breed."

Richmond-Watson added: "We are pleased to be able to deliver bonuses this year, with the number of races rising to approximately 3,000 in 2022. Breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, stable-staff and pinhookers can all benefit from the scheme, which supports the long-term sustainability of our industry. 

"We are extremely grateful to all those who have helped deliver this initiative, most notably the Levy Board and steering groups, which have worked tirelessly on this project."

Win multiple bonuses in eligible races

At a cost of £200 for TBA members, 2020 foals can be registered by August 31, with a £200 stage-two yearling registration due by June 30 of the horse's yearling year. 

A final stage-three payment is made by the owner on February 28 of the horse's two-year-old season. Flat foals born in 2019 can register for stage one and two by August 31, 2020. 

Eligible British-bred fillies will fall under one of two categories: 100 per cent GBB, for foals born in GB and sired by a GB-based stallion, and 50 per cent GBB, for foals born in GB but by a stallion standing abroad. A 50 per cent GBB filly will be eligible for half the bonus payable to a 100 per cent GBB filly. 

A 100 per cent GBB Flat filly will earn a £20,000 bonus in specified fillies-only races and £10,000 in specified Flat races open to both sexes. A filly can win multiple bonuses in eligible races. Fillies-only races carry larger bonuses than open races to support the work done by the BHA to improve the fillies-only programme. 

A 100 per cent GBB jumps filly will be entitled to a £20,000 bonus in specified mares-only hurdles and chases, with £10,000 allotted to specified hurdles and chases open to both sexes. The bonus for bumper races will be £10,000 in specified mares-only races, and £5,000 in bumpers open to both sexes.

Each stakeholder in the horse will benefit from the bonus, with the owner at the time of the win receiving 65 per cent and the registered breeder and owner at the yearling stage each receiving ten per cent. The trainer, jockey and stable staff will also receive a share of the bonus.

Timing 'could never have been better'

Scheme manager Grant Pritchard-Gordon said it would be a welcome initiative at a time when breeders and owners alike are in great need of an incentive. 

"I think from a timing point of view it could never have been better," said Gordon-Pritchard.

"The TBA is very concerned about the foal crop, not so much for 2021, but for 2022. The modelling that's been done suggests that there may be a fall by as much as 30 per cent and we're so anxious to protect the small breeders, who are accountable for 33 per cent of the foal crop. 

"Back in 2018 the impact study showed that there was a 66 per cent loss to the small breeders and it's going to get worse so there really couldn't be a better time. 

"We want to help breeders sell their stock of GB-bred fillies better in the sales ring. If they can also pick up bonus prize-money that's great, but it is also important for the owners who are running for a small amount of prize-money. With prize-money being slashed, there is no better time to be running for a bonus of £20,000." 

The scheme will commence upon the resumption of racing, scheduled for Monday, June 1, offering multiple chances to win a £20,000 bonus during racing's first week back. There will be six eligible races next week at Newcastle, Newmarket, Yarmouth and Kempton.

"It's very much an industry self-help scheme," added Pritchard-Gordon. "It has been promoted by the TBA but we've had enormous help from the Racehorse Owners Association, who have really endorsed it. The BHA and Weatherbys have also been fantastic. It's a fantastic industry initiative, self-funded with no government help."

Further information on the bonus can be found here.

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The aim is to ensure that more British-bred fillies and mares are in demand as racing prospects, encouraging breeders and owners to race fillies
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