18th Dec 2012
After a long gestation, the British Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme is born. The motive may be unashamedly Pro-British but the net result is for owners to put in £1,100,000 in the hope of winning £3,600 should their British horse beat the opposition. British breeders were previously in receipt of £700,000 in breeders prizes prior to the BOBIS discussions, that has been reduced to £400,000 in future to help fund this scheme. The Breeders must contribute up to £600,000 to take part in the scheme as outlined. In return they can consume 30% of the bonuses, which works out at up to £810,000. All the huffing and puffing to produce a net loss for breeders of at least £90,000.
So who benefits? If the Levy Board were looking for a cost-cutting exercise, then this would be applauded. I will bet a bonus that the Levy Board extra contribution after year 1 will be zero, and a reduction in spend more likely. The bonuses are paid out only if they are won, and that will only happen some of the time. Every time it doesn’t happen, the Levy Board exposure reduces, while the Owners and Breeders contributions languish in a vault somewhere.
What happened to the spirit of cooperation that was fostered through the development of the Yearling Bonus Scheme? We all fight our corner, but we are all in the same corner as far as I can see – in a minority sport struggling to retain relevance in a rapidly changing world. It will take all our collective energies to survive the multiple challenges being thrown at us. A year of closed door discussions has produced a divisive pup which pretends to outdo all previous industry initiatives. Bit presumptuous don’t you think? What does Mr Delmonte mean when he says he applauds the drive ‘to reduce the number of different incentive schemes’? Is he forgetting that prize money is the best incentive of all?