The Annual General Meeting of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association was held online for the first time on Sunday. TBA Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson detailed several key strategic priorities, while also acknowledging the challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the UK Thoroughbred industry. Five 2021 focal points for the TBA Board of Trustees and executive team are as follows:
- Resolving issues arising from the UK's exit from the EU; to include working with industry partners at home and abroad to ensure best possible outcomes for the industry, its people, trade and horse movement.
- Maintaining and developing relationships with key industry and government figures who can potentially influence and support TBA activities.
- Providing further direct support for breeders, including development of the Great British Bonus scheme.
- Participating and influencing industry decisions on prize-money, ensuring racing is adequately funded at every level, while maintaining the appeal and competitiveness of Britain's top-level races globally.
- Improving the TBA's digital services, including developing and launching a new e-learning platform to provide easy and affordable access to industry training.
Several positive developments in 2020 include: the TBA gaining approval from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for the Great British Bonus scheme which has already paid out over £1 million in prize-money. The quick adaption of communications and services for members through the coronavirus crises was also recognised as a success.
“British breeders need more support,” said Richmond-Watson. “GBB [the Great British Bonus] is a great start, but if racecourses wish to run the size of the programme they desire, they will need us to maintain and produce more foals on the ground and that will only happen if breeders feel confident about the future.”
Also during the meeting, the term of the incumbent chairman was increased from six years to eight after a special resolution was adopted, with upcoming challenges ranging from Brexit, COVID-19, prize-money issues, and Levy reform. A new membership category was also created, the associate subscription, allowing discounted or free access to TBA courses and events for £60 per year. In addition, Laundry Cottage Stud owner Colin Bryce and Kate Sigsworth of West Moor Stud were elected to the Board of Trustees. For more details on the TBA Annual General Meeting, please visit www.tba.co.uk.