Races for small breeders attracting small fields

Races for small breeders attracting small fields
By Lewis Porteous 2:42PM 21 SEP 2016

THE Thoroughbred Breeders' Association has expressed disappointment at the field sizes for two pilot races aimed at supporting small breeders, the first of which will take place at Goodwood on Wednesday.

A field of nine has been declared for the £25,000 Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Small Breeders' Conditions Stakes (2.35), a seven-furlong contest open to juvenile colts and geldings sired by a British-based stallion who at the time of covering was advertised at a fee of £15,000 or less. There is a 3lb weight allowance for each £5,000 reduction in the stallion fee.

An equivalent race for fillies at Newmarket tomorrow has attracted just five declarations and TBA board member Philip Newton thinks the races may need some adjustment.

Newton, who also sits on the BHA racing committee, chairs the small breeders' group which instigated the new races. "I'm disappointed there are only nine declarations at Goodwood and five at Newmarket," he said.

"They're big pots for two-year-olds and the only thing I can assume is that trainers are reluctant to run unexposed two-year-olds against horses who have a rating in fear they may get a rating they'd not get otherwise."

Explaining how the experiment came about, he added: "It was an alternative to auction races. It is a fact that around 43 per cent of all two-year-olds who run in Britain are bought for less than £50,000, which is an amazing stat.

"The BHA racing committee are looking at ways the entire population can be accommodated appropriately in an overall programme and a pilot scheme of two races was introduced to see if this added more attraction or more competition.

"I can't say it hasn't worked as these things are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. You can't start something and expect immediate results. We'll go back and look at these small breeders' races and see how we need to tinker to get the right number of runners."

Andrew Balding was keen to offer his support and runs Hidden Stash in Wednesday's race and Highland Pass at Newmarket on Thursday.

He said: "I think it's a good initiative to encourage people using budget stallions and it's a nice prize, so we're keen to support it. Hidden Stash has a fair bit to find on ratings but won well at Brighton and is in great form."

Highlighting how important small breeders are to racing's pyramid, Newton added: "We need small breeders to fulfil the number of horses we need in training to create an attractive and robust racing programme and it's right therefore that we try to encourage small breeders one way or another.

"This was one way. It hasn't worked and I'm disappointed, but we'll go back to the drawing board and try again."

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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