Racing’s ruling body is mulling over plans to tighten up its regulation of syndicates, a hot topic in the wake of the drama around the Irish-based Supreme Horse Racing Club, which is unable to run its horses.
The British Horseracing Authority says it is in the early stages of considering what action to take and will have to consult the industry before changes are made. But the ruling body believes some action will be justified to retain public confidence in syndication, which is expected to be a growth area in the sport.
“Getting involved in a syndicate is an affordable and fun way to enjoy racehorse ownership,” said a BHA spokesman. “Anybody that runs a syndicate must be registered with the BHA and they are also required to confirm their compliance with a code of conduct, which was introduced in 2017. Complaints are very rare and are usually quickly resolved.
“However, as syndication continues to grow, we plan to look at how this area is regulated. It is critical that the public retain trust in syndicates and have confidence that they are going to be well run. There could be various ways to achieve this, with one option being to enhance the level of assessment of prospective managers’ capability to run a syndicate, as part of the application process.”
There is already significant scrutiny in place for those who intend to manage syndicates, as they are required by the BHA to register as an owner in their own right, which brings with it ID and credit checks. The regulator’s licensing and integrity teams would review any such application, examining the person’s financial soundness and any unspent criminal or civil proceedings against them.
Horses owned by the Supreme Horse Racing Club, including the top‑class Kemboy, are unable to race as the regulator in Ireland seeks answers to questions about its management that have been raised by club members. The story has provided an incidental testament to the BHA’s rigour, as it emerged that those behind Supreme gave up on setting it up in England because “the BHA were making it hard for us”.
Ian Robinson, who runs syndicates under the Imperial Racing banner, believes there is scope for the ruling body to do more. “The BHA should have a registration system,” he said.
“They should be saying to me, demonstrate to us that you run these partnerships correctly and we will give you our official seal of approval. They’ll argue they do a fit and proper person test. But that only goes to the individuals. It doesn’t give anyone a guarantee that this is going to be administered in a straightforward, transparent way.”
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