In a further crackdown on potentially shady dealings in the horseracing world, a Bloodstock Industry Code of Practice has been published today by the racing industry’s leading bodies.

The code of practice is a landmark in the bloodstock industry as it gives the Jockey Club, which hitherto has had no jurisdiction over the bloodstock industry, with the power to ban individuals from British racecourses and other licensed premises should any alleged breaches of the code prove to be true, although bloodstock agents are not licensed by any organisation.

The code has come into being as a result of calls for increased transparency of all bloodstock transactions following newspaper claims in December last year involving bloodstock agent Charlie Gordon-Watson and trainer David Elsworth, centring on the proposed sale in October 2001 of the filly Foodbroker Fancy.

Jockey Club Senior Steward Julian Richmond-Watson, who chaired the meetings earlier this year at which the code was developed, stressed that the publication of the code of practice further underlines the Jockey Club’s commitment to “promoting confidence in the integrity of the industry.

“The initial meeting was called following some negative publicity which reflected poorly on both the bloodstock industry and racing as a whole, however, the introduction of the Code should be seen as a very positive development.

“The code promotes full disclosure for all arrangements arising from any bloodstock transaction and should alleviate previously expressed concerns about a lack of transparency,” he added.

The code calls for openness from bloodstock agents, dispelling any potential for secret profit, and requiring that agents should notify vendors and purchasers “when a conflict of interest should arrive”. In addition, agents are required to disclose any payments such as ‘Luck Money’, and vendors are forbidden from offering any secret profit to potential agents.

The code is unlikely to bring about any dramatic changes in the workings of the bloodstock industry, but the need for openness is clear-cut, and the Jockey Club is unlikely to look favourably on any transgressions of the code.

“I have been impressed by the willingness of the parties concerned to work together to produce a comprehensive document,” says Richmond-Watson. “The Jockey Club is happy to endorse the Code and to issue penalties where there is evidence of a breach”.