How influential figures in racing and betting have framed the strategy summit
Julian Richmond-Watson, chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association
The first [required element] is the restructure of the governance of racing so the BHA and its board can properly govern the sport. All parties in racing are in agreement on this and it needs one final push to ensure that fine words are enshrined in a constitution that empowers the BHA board to make decisions for the medium and long term. This then leads on to the creation of a strategy for racing.
Simon Bazalgette, former Jockey Club chief executive
The best things in racing have always happened when the BHA, the racecourses and the horsemen really manage to get some level of agreement on things because as soon as we all start arguing for our own vested interests things start falling apart. If the horse population is not delivering that [competitiveness] then some hard decisions have to be taken. Maybe we do have to take less money in order to keep that attractiveness.
Simon Clare, PR director, Ladbrokes and Coral
This is a big opportunity for the major players in racing to come together and collectively address and overcome what appears to be the biggest stumbling block to improving the competitiveness and appeal of the sport. How does racing make changes to the fixture list for the overall good of the sport when racecourses own the fixtures and don't want to give them up or move them?
There seems to be violent agreement amongst many stakeholders, including all the major betting operators, that there needs to be a reduction in opportunities in the higher classes of racing, both on the Flat and the jumps, to drive more competition which should then be rewarded with higher prize-money.
Charlie Parker, president of the Racehorse Owners Association and chair of the Thoroughbred Group
At the heart of it is the horse, the breed, the prospect for it, what it looks like in five to ten years' time, what type of races are designed for the breed. And then the people looking after the horses, who are obviously dedicated but need help. We need help in this area. I believe that when the BHA is presented with a clear remit and parameters within which to operate and lead, it will be for the betterment of our sport.
Paul Johnson, chief executive of the National Trainers Federation
We would like to see improvements in the sport's finances, and therefore the success of trainers' businesses, that are driven by underlying interest in what we do. This means we need to understand the motivations of racing's various customer groups and the barriers that prevent others getting involved.
Paul Dixon, former ROA president
Unfortunately the way the tripartite system is set up now is like a Mexican standoff. We wouldn't have had that if we had commercial deals between the people who provide the product and the people who stage the product. If we had commercial deals that worked between the two parties then the BHA could oversee that and make sure the fixture list is not bloated in certain areas and protect the breed.
Philip Freedman, former chair of the Thoroughbred Group
For me the issue to be addressed is more fundamental than the finances, it's how you have a system where no-one has a right to veto. Unless you get that right there's no point thinking about a strategy because it will adversely affect someone and it will get stopped.
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