RACEHORSE trainers are “insulted” by mandatory industry training on the misuse of inside information and threats that they could lose their licence if they do not attend.
Trainers received a letter from the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) director of integrity Paul Scotney last week, informing them of compulsory education — and warning that failure to comply could result in disciplinary action.
Paul Struthers from the BHA said: “It is vital that everyone in the sport understands what is expected of them.”
The training comes on the heels of BBC’s Panorama programme, Racing’s Dirty Secrets, which aired on 30 July.
The BHA’s aim is that by educating everyone, no one can claim ignorance on the rules.
But trainers have hit back.
Nigel Twiston-Davies told H&H: “It smacks of going back to school. If I knew when a horse was going to win then I’d be very rich and living in Barbados.”
“I think it’s a waste of time,” said Gary Moore. “It’s very disrespectful to trainers. Racing has gone on before without seminars so I don’t see why it needs them now.”
Former H&H columnist James Fanshawe said: “We all want racing to be perceived as a clean sport, but this is all a bit complicated.”
And H&H’s current columnist Michael Bell is also unimpressed (see page 78).
Other top trainers declined to comment.
The National Trainers Federation (NTF) criticised the idea and stated the uproar is “a problem that is entirely of the BHA’s own making”.
Rupert Arnold, chief executive of the NTF, told H&H: “Essentially, it is not an issue about the code of conduct, but about communication and the way it has been handled.”
The 45min seminars are being held nationwide until 31 December, but only about 20 trainers turned up for the first seminar, held in Middleham on Tuesday, 12 August.
Those who are unable, or unwilling, to attend — which includes all the trainers who spoke to H&H — may complete an online module instead.
Grand National-winning trainer David Pipe told H&H he would be completing the online module “to save time”.
But the BHA later conceded that the module is hard to police.
Mr Struthers said: “While it would be impossible to know exactly who had completed it we don’t see what trainers would gain by not completing the module themselves.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (21 August, ’08)