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Letters: Great efforts on jumpers' behalf.

Byline: Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson, NH chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, on measures to counter a downward trend for British-bred jumpers

SUE MONTGOMERY (World of Breeding, April 30) highlighted a bad year for British-bred jumpers.

Bad news sells papers, so it was perhaps no surprise that she failed to mention all that has been done to reverse the downwards trend.

In the six to nine years since the champions of 2001/2002 were conceived we have seen a turnaround in the foal market at Doncaster, due mostly to the DBS/TBA Foal Show; breeders' prizes have gone up to 25 per cent of the race

minimum value; we now have a mares' series for point-to-points, bumpers, hurdles, and novice chases, these last three with valuable Listed finals plus the Listed Mares' Only Lady Rebecca Handicap

Hurdle at Cheltenham.

There are owners' premiums for novice chases at Cheltenham; a BHB marketing initiative to encourage owners to keep winning mares at stud in Great Britain; 16 GB-bred only bumpers; and, for the

future, a series of NH Flat races for three-year-olds over one and a half miles.

This series was initiated not to keep up with the French but in response to research commissioned by the Levy Board into fractures on the racecourse and gallops. The preliminary results have shown that an earlier start improves the strength of bone and

tendon and that the risk of

injury to the horse increases the further and later that it first races. This is principally a welfare issue.

So far as stallions are concerned, we did welcome a false dawn in the 1980s with high- class racehorses but uncommercial Flat stallions switched to stand as NH sires.

Again, the landscape has changed and we now have some superb racehorses retiring directly to stand as sires of jumpers and, as always, we have some `little' stallions

doing wonders with small and moderate books of mares.

When Sue says that the quality of British stallions is "higher than it has ever been" I entirely agree, and that it is the ball that you should not take your eye from.

Everything else in that

article is largely of historical

interest only. If we do not have a champion among this year's crop of GB-bred foals I will eat my Racing Post!

CHARLES WILSON

Thoroughbred Breeders' Association

National Hunt chairman
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 9, 2002
Words:392
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