Broughton backs 48-hour declarations

British Horseracing Board chairman Martin Broughton today gave his personal support to the proposed switch to a 48-hour deadline for final declarations in British Flat races.

The BHB board is set to rule at its meeting next month as to whether the change should be made, principally in order to make British racing a more saleable commodity to overseas markets.

BHB officials have already been presented with papers from Racing UK and the Press Association as to the predicted advantages of such a move.

BHB chief executive Greg Nichols said that Racing UK had “put together a far more convincing case than we had seen before”.

The Racecourse Association and the Racehorse Owners Association are presently involved in discussions as to how new revenue streams might be fed into the sport – a question about which some BHB board members have expressed concern.

Essentially it is now up to the racecourses to persuade owners and trainers that new income will filter down to increased prize-money.

“The Board is waiting on racecourses to engage with owners and trainers on that matter,” said Nichols.

Those against the permanent switch include many trainers, who argue the earlier deadline will lead to an administrative headache as well as a greatly increased number of non-runners.

Trials on the benefits for 48-hour declarations in all-weather races, Group races and heritage handicaps have seemingly proved inconclusive despite television companies having previously made the same promises of increased revenue for the sport from foreign sales.

But ahead of the March 6 vote, Broughton told reporters: “I do have sympathy with the position of the trainers, but all of the evidence we have is that it hasn’t worked so far because the people who have been selling it haven’t made it work.

“None of the targets of ATR have been met and none of their promises have been met, but they might have been distracted by other matters and have always said that they needed it to be introduced across the board.

“Personally I think that it should be possible to demonstrate that such a move would generate money and that it will flow into the right hands.

“And it does seem to me that if South African racing can generate money from selling its races internationally then we ought to be able generate more.”

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