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Bobis not finished article but an excellent starting point; LETTER.

I WRITE in support of the excellent new Bobis initiative that the BHA announced last month, amid some disappointing comments that have been circulating recently.

There seems to be a number of criticisms of the scheme. Chief among them is that it is seen as a poor replacement for the Racing Post Yearling Bonus scheme.

The Yearling Bonus was an excellent initiative brought in at a critical time, when the yearling sales needed a boost, and Newsells Park Stud has been one of its most significant supporters.

However, there have been plenty of critics of the Yearling Bonus over the past couple of years and support among breeders has been wavering.

While Bobis is not designed to be a replacement for the Yearling Bonus, breeders will probably be reluctant to register for both schemes and arguably the Yearling Bonus has now served its purpose.

Unlike the Yearling Bonus, Bobis is a far more inclusive scheme benefiting ownerbreeders as well as commercial breeders, not to mention trainers, jockeys and stable staff.

It is designed to encourage racehorse ownership through its significant bonuses, encourage owners to run their horses more often, because a successful horse can win more than one bonus, and encourage owner-breeders to put more fillies, who are struggling ever more in the sales ring, into training.

Like the Yearling Bonus, Bobis is an industry self-help scheme but, crucially, thanks to the financial support of the Levy Board it is remarkably generous.

From a situation where Newsells Park Stud was initially spending around PS20,000 per annum to register approximately 40 yearlings for the Yearling Bonus, we can now register almost double that number of foals for almost half the cost.

At the same time, breeders will receive 30 per cent of any bonus, whereas we receive nothing from the Yearling Bonus. While the bonus of PS6,000 is clearly less than the PS10,000 provided by the Yearling Bonus, a horse can win multiple bonuses through Bobis's support of maidens, novice races, conditions races and nurseries and handicaps.

There has also been much talk about the scheme being anti-Irish. While the scheme is designed to benefit British-domiciled mares, this will not exclude Irish breeders, in the same way that British and Irish breeders have successfully utilised French premiums over recent years.

Moreover, the qualifications for Bobis are far less strict than the French system. In addition, the fact that any foal who is by a British-domiciled stallion is also included gives every Irish breeder the chance to be involved. I would certainly expect shrewd Irish pinhookers to utilise the scheme in pinhooking British-bred or British-sired foals who will be qualified for Bobis.

As for Bobis being overly complicated, what could be simpler than the progeny of either a British-domiciled mare or British-domiciled stallion being eligible? Of course no-one is pretending that Bobis in its current form is the perfect finished article, but it is an excellent starting point and has the potential to evolve, develop and contribute significantly greater funds in the future. It deserves the industry's support.

Julian Dollar General manager, Newsells Park Stud
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 2, 2013
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