1st April 2016
It is truly incredible. The group that I used to dub ‘Racing For No Change’ have made one of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of thoroughbred racing and breeding. Rod Street, head of the team at Great British Racing, will go down in the history of the thoroughbred alongside the likes of Admiral Rous, Frederico Tesio and, dare I say, Sheikh Mohammed.
He has, with the agreement of all ‘stakeholders’, moved the birthday of all thoroughbred horses in the northern hemisphere from 1st January to the Monday after British Champions Day. This will allow all championships – including jockeys, owners, trainers, sires, and first-season sires – to end on the same day and will, as Rod says, ‘provide a narrative for the sport, a great sponsorship opportunity, and an extra attraction for the thousands of people who attend British Champions Day principally to listen to the music and who hitherto had no interest in the sport’.
It will provide a few minor challenges but the team at Great British Racing are confident that none are insurmountable. It will mean that races like the Racing Post Trophy are now for three-year-olds only but that is surely preferable to having them sit outside some championships as is currently the case.
The breeding industry will, of course, face new challenges as there will now be a distinct advantage to having foals born in November but Rod Street has confirmed that, with the help of the new artificial daylight system perfected and marketed by Irish horsebox driver Sam Murphy, which is already in use in many yards, this is easily achievable. It is rumoured that Mr. Murphy, who must surely have had prior knowledge of the changes, is in talks with the Microsoft Corporation who have expressed a serious interest in his products.
Yearling and foal sales will be able to move to a position earlier in the year allowing vendors to present their stock while they still have their summer coats.
It isn’t yet confirmed but it is assumed that southern hemisphere authorities will move their thoroughbred birthday by approximately two and a half months to maintain the differential.
As with other GBR initiatives, full details will be available through Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.