Racing: Reduction in horse power

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The Independent Online
A HEAD count of racehorses in training has revealed an accelerating drop in numbers which is expected to continue in 1994, a Jockey Club report warns today.

While connections of racehorses might at first be encouraged by less competition, the Jockey Club fears that the number of races and fixtures is under major threat in the long term. In turn, so too would be the volume of betting turnover and levy, government receipts, and levels of employment.

The Club is urging that action be taken to restore confidence in the racing industry and attract new owners. It says: 'There must be an examination of all sources of finance, an initiative to promote ownership and steps to try to retain owners more effectively than in the recent past.

'It will require positive action by all in the industry, by bookmakers and by the Government.'

Today's report says the decline in horse population has accelerated over the past three years, and will probably continue in 1994; that the steepest reduction (15.8%) was in four-year-olds over the last year as well as a significant fall (10.8%) in jump horses; and that by the end of this year the average number of horses in training will have fallen by 1,963 (16.2%) since 1990.

The Jockey Club admits: 'There is a danger that the production of these figures will in itself promote messages of gloom, when owners need to be given encouragement, but they are a fact and cannot be ignored.'

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