Racing: Trainers retreat on fees

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The Independent Online
THE Jockey Club have managed to convince the National Trainers' Federation that increases of up to 75 per cent in their licence fee for next year are justified. It must have been some explanation.

The trainers had threatened to withhold payment of the higher charges but yesterday withdrew their threat after a meeting with the Jockey Club's finance committee.

The move is unlikely to placate a body of trainers who are unhappy not only with the charges, which are particularly severe on trainers whose strings contain fewer than 25 horses, but their own trade organization which they believe has been ineffectual. Brooke Sanders, the Epsom trainer, has resigned from the NTF in protest.

'The object of the meeting was to express our concern over these increases, and to question the lack of prior consultation,' an NTF statement said.

'We received a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure on the Jockey Club Administration Account, and reasons why trainers were being asked to pay their share towards the overall cost of running racing.

'We were also assured that next year proper consultation would take place if it was necessary to increase trainers' licence fees.'

Apart from the licence fee increases of up to 75 per cent, other charges for trainers have also been raised meaning those at the lower end of the scale, with under 25 horses, will pay a total of pounds 520.23, compared to pounds 401.05 this year. In the top bracket, those with over 100 horses are now to be charged pounds 755.23 from pounds 577.30.

Hereford's meeting today became the 14th National Hunt card to fall to the weather this season after failing an inspection yesterday. The ground is frozen. Yesterday's fixture at Edinburgh was called off for the same reason, but Lingfield was able to go ahead. The Surrey venue also flies the flag today - staging a Flat fixture on the all- weather course - before the sport takes a three-day Christmas break.