Written by Ann
There can be plenty to like about the cold, wet, grey British winter weather especially when you are abroad, watching from sunnier climes and this years trip to the sun to see friends and enjoy a break was utterely enjoyable.
At home Anna ran the office in my absence with her usual professionalism while the boys and girls on the yard led by James and Allen looked after all things equine. Carl and Kyle look after the maintenance at Sun Hill and are never short of a job or ten, they helped James steam clean and disinfect before completing the mammoth task of painting the yard. Appropriately they painted with a new anti bacterial paint.
The horses had already had their flu vaccinations which turned out to be good timing because soon after, the Equine flu hit mainland England creating havoc and stopping racing from going ahead. We were one of 200 yards on “lockdown” meaning all horse movements on or off the farm had to stop.
Unbeknown to me while the sun shone in our temporary winter abode, trainers and owners in the UK had boycotted a couple of races at Lingfield. Then less than thirty six hours after returning from holiday all hell broke lose with racing stopping in its tracks again and, frustratingly just twenty minutes before the start of the trainers AGM in London on Thursday one trainer realised their NTF president (me) had not been added to the Wattsapp group that had been started two weeks earlier and had gathered pace at an incredible rate with trainers and owners venting their fury about prize money reductions.
Trainers work incredibly hard and we would all admit to being blinkered at times but we ought to learn how to communicate between oursleves better. It was an “extraordinary” situation but suffice to say the boycott has opened eyes and ears that were otherwise closed, so well done to everyone for a great effort.
An initial meeting on Tuesday in London marked an important step forward and saw a wide range of statistics and financial figures being provided (with more to follow), the aim being to build up a shared understanding of all the relevant data. Discussions centred around current work on future funding strategy and other options, there was agreement that there needs to be a structure to provide more transparency for horsemen about racecourses’ media rights income, this is a very important breakthrough because we have not previously had sight of this information. The reintroduction of formal prize money agreements which will ensure a contractual obligation to transfer agreed percentages of media rights income into prize money. And, crucially an agreement to ensure 2019 prize money doesn’t fall below 2018 levels.
More on this to follow.