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ROA backs small field efforts

Paul-Bittar-wideThe ROA has welcomed the continued efforts of the BHA to tackle the issue of small fields in jump racing.

However, the association has reaffirmed its belief that increased prize-money would be a key factor in addressing it.

BHA chief executive Paul Bittar (pictured) says racing must be ready to brace itself for “short-term pain”, explaining that there was no quick fix and suggesting that the sport’s integrity is at risk if the decline is not reversed.

The governing body will now conduct a wide-ranging statistical analysis of the factors the BHA believes is at the root of competitive racing.

Richard Wayman, ROA Chief Executive, said: “The continuing decline in field sizes is damaging the popularity of racing and, although the recently announced measures should generate some improvement, the real challenge is to get the number of owners and horses growing again.

“There are 1,600 fewer horses in training than in 2008 and this significant contraction is the root cause of the current problems. Increasing the appeal of ownership, including the finances of owning a horse, is essential to tackling this worrying situation.”

17 December 2014

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