The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed that it has ratified proposals from the Racecourse Association (RCA) via the sport’s “Racing Group” to adjust the conditions of selling races from 1 October 2018.
The objective of the proposals is to make the conditions of selling races much clearer to owners and trainers considering running horses, or bidding for the winners of these races in the post-race auction.
The most notable adjustment is that the commission retained by racecourses on the sale of any winning horse sold through the post-race auction, including those horses which are bought back by the existing trainer or owner, will be capped at 10% of the sale price, although racecourses do have the option to charge less than this should they wish.
Currently the amount of commission charged can vary from racecourse to racecourse, which causes uncertainty for owners, and can be anything up to 50% above the minimum bid, which can be off-putting for anyone considering putting their horse forward to run in these races.
In the view of the RCA and the Racing Group, these factors are causing a lack of interest in running horses in Selling races, and hence they are becoming less attractive for racecourses to stage. This is supported by data which has shown a steady decline in the number of Selling races staged and a stagnation in the field sizes of the races that have been programmed.
The other changes are that the minimum bid at post-race auctions will be set at £3,200, or higher at the option of the Racecourse, and that auctions of the winning horse will now be held in pounds, rather than Guineas. The proposals will be implemented on an initial 12 month trial basis.
Paul Johnson, Head of Racing for the BHA, commented: “Having once been a popular race type, in recent years we have seen a decline in the attractiveness of sellers. We hope that these steps will go some way to revitalising sellers and make them a more appealing proposition for racecourses to stage as an alternative to handicaps.”
Andy Clifton, Racing Director at the RCA, added: “Racecourses are keen to boost the attractiveness of Selling races, as they add variety to the race programme and produce popular post-race theatre when the winning horse is offered for sale. We have suggested the changes to make the conditions of these races as clear as possible in the hope that Sellers continue to be supported at racecourses around the country, providing a different winning opportunity for the connections of lower grade horses.”