Owners' chief urges buyers to keep sense of proportion
The chief executive of the Racehorse Owners Association has called on members to think carefully before spending their money as he suggested existing means of preventing malpractice in the trading of horses may not be sufficiently strong.
In confirming it has launched a review of the buying and selling of horses, the BHA pointed to fears the sales environment could be deterring existing and potential owners from pursuing an involvement in racing.
Responding to those concerns, ROA boss Charlie Liverton said: "I don't have my phone ringing with owners saying they believe underhand activity is going on at the sales.
"That, though, is not to say there isn't a potential issue in the sales ring, and we obviously do not condone any fraudulent activity.
"The law of the land is the first place any concerned owner should go, given the BHA do not regulate sales rings or breeders.
"There are other mechanisms in place. Are they strong enough? Perhaps not. So, how do we make sure they are strengthened and how do we make sure we aren't losing owners? We need to provide owners with the right platform to put forward any concerns."
Liverton also believes owners should use sagacity and judgement gained outside racing before making bloodstock investments.
He said: "There is a danger owners say, for example, they have £100,000 to spend, but then don't ask enough questions.
"If you are preparing to buy a company, stock or house, you wouldn't say you have £100,000 to spend. Yet we walk into the office of a trainer or agent, and say, 'I've got £100,000. What have you got for me?'
"An owner might need to ask, 'Why have I just spent £100,000 on a yearling by a stallion with an £8,000 covering fee?' In the city they talk of multiples of earnings, so why in this case spend a multiple of 12? If the mare is that good, why did she go to an £8,000 stallion?
"There is, of course, nothing wrong with spending £100,000. However, if you do that, at least make sure your boxes are ticked."
Liverton added: "Ultimately, the ROA are here to help any owners if they feel any form of malpractice has been undertaken.
"The BHA have instigated a review of the code of conduct that is currently in place and we look forward to working with them and other industry stakeholders to reinforce best practice where necessary."
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