Tag Archive for: National trainers Federation

Industry-wide group launched to address behavioural issues in racing

British racing’s major stakeholders have joined forces in a bid to address problems of behaviour within the sport following the Robbie Dunne bullying case.

Dunne was last week found by the independent disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority to have bullied and harassed fellow rider Bryony Frost, being banned for 18 months as a result, with three months suspended.

The BHA, National Trainers Federation, Professional Jockeys Association, National Association of Racing Staff, Racehorse Owners Association, Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and the Racecourse Association have united in a commitment to ensure “horseracing remains a progressive, modern industry when it comes to the conduct of our people”.

Robbie Dunne leaving the British Horseracing Authority's headquarters in London last week
Robbie Dunne leaving the British Horseracing Authority’s headquarters in London last week (Yui Mok/PA)

In a joint-statement, they said: “British racing is a diverse industry where individuals of varying identities and from a wide range of backgrounds work and compete side by side. It is a sport characterised by the shared values of camaraderie and conscientiousness which come hand in hand with working in an elite sport alongside equine athletes.

“It is essential that horseracing remains a progressive, modern industry when it comes to the conduct of our people. We must prioritise the well-being and development of our workforce, stand against discrimination of any kind in British racing, and invest in making racing a safe, fulfilling place to work.

“Great progress has already been made by the industry in terms of improving standards around training, education, employment practices, well-being, safeguarding and career development, with the entire sport involved in making racing a better place to work.

“However, there is always more that can and must be done. We must encourage a culture of openness and seek to support anyone who faces problems or has found themselves in difficulty. We must promote a culture of respect in how those involved in racing interact with one another and promote more diversity and inclusion at all levels of the industry.

“The signatories to this statement, therefore, today publicly commit to further improve standards, education and training around industry conduct, through the formation of a dedicated cross-industry working party.”  

Bryony Frost at Warwick racecourse
Bryony Frost at Warwick racecourse (Adam Davy/PA)

All the signatories have agreed to take part in a working party which will report into the industry People Board and will have the objectives of promoting the positive elements of conduct, educating participants, deter poor behaviour and any form of discrimination while calling out conduct which falls short of the joint expectations.

The group will be chaired by the BHA and include representatives from all the relevant bodies and the people that they represent. 

The working party will, as a priority, develop a specific action plan, which will be underpinned by research into the most effective examples of positive behaviour change from other industries.

It has amongst its objectives ensuring that the new code of conduct is properly communicated, explained and understood and that it achieves its objectives of raising standards of behaviour and conduct within the sport.

British trainers react with ‘outrage and disgust’ to Elliott social media image

British trainers have voiced their “outrage and disgust” at the photograph of Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse which has shocked British and Irish racing.

Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer Elliott will be “cooperating fully” with an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board investigation into the incident.

After County Meath-based Elliott confirmed the image – posted on Twitter on Saturday night – is genuine, counterparts in Britain have made their disquiet clear to the national representative body.

A statement on Monday read: “From yesterday evening through today, the National Trainers Federation has been contacted by its members expressing outrage and disgust at the image of Gordon Elliott circulating on social media.

“Although Mr Elliott is based in Ireland, the NTF – which represents trainers based in Great Britain – wishes the public to be in no doubt that its members distance themselves from the behaviour on display in that image, and want to emphasise their deeply felt values of care, respect and love for the racehorse.

“These values underpin the public’s confidence in the sport, and are indispensable to the future prosperity of all who work in horseracing.”

Grand National-winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald spoke of his shock and sadness after discovering the image was genuine.

Fitzgerald, a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner too in his distinguished riding career, initially thought and hoped the photograph on Elliott’s gallops was a fake – until a statement from the trainer dispelled those doubts on Sunday.

Fitzgerald told Sky Sports Racing: “When I read that statement, I can’t help but feel anything else but so sad.

“The number one thing we have to get out to everybody is how much we care about these horses.

“It is so important that everybody who is watching this channel, who has any interest at all in our sport, knows that at the heart of this are people who love these animals.”

Fitzgerald spoke personally, and also on the wider topic of the public’s perception of racing.

He said: “My initial reaction to it was ‘I hope it’s a fake’. That was what I thought – ‘it has to be fake’.

“It’s making me quite emotional, because these horses have given me a life that I’m privileged to have, and it just makes me feel so sad.

“I’ve been in situations where horses that I have looked after and ridden have unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice in our sport, and the care and attention they get right to the end – we have to emphasise to everyone watching that people care for these horses.

“We want to celebrate them (horses) and make them realise how much we care for them and how much they are loved by everybody in the sport.

“Anyone watching has to realise that we have nothing but the interests of these animals at heart.”