On Tuesday 13 September, James Evans MS attended a National Racehorse Week drop-in event in The Senedd hosted by the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) to show his support for horse racing in Wales and the high-quality care racehorses receive from stable staff in yards across the country.
Representatives from the BHA were joined by Welsh racehorse trainer Tim Vaughan, who is based near Cowbridge and had hosted his own National Racehorse Week event with almost 1,000 visitors the previous weekend. James Evans MS for Brecon & Radnorshire heard about the work British Racing has done to improve standards of equine welfare in the sport as well as the significant economic contribution made by the industry here in Wales.
Across three racecourses, 27 training yards and a significant number of breeding operations, the industry is an invaluable contributor to the rural economy, supporting hundreds of jobs and punches well above its weight on the track. Racing is also the third biggest spectator sport in Wales by attendance with over 150,000 racegoers visiting the three Welsh tracks in 2022.
National Racehorse Week, which takes place from 9-17 September, gives the entire British racing industry, from grassroots to elite level, the opportunity to showcase to the public the very best of what it does by bringing people closer to the horses at the heart of the sport. 170 events are taking place at yards, studs, retraining and rehoming centres across the country for more than 18,000 members of the public, giving them the chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after racehorses.
No other top-level sport in Britain allows such behind-the-scenes access, with National Racehorse Week attendees able to meet the equine stars and talk to trainers and staff.
Those involved in British racing are rightly proud of the sport and the role it plays in providing an unparalleled quality of life for horses bred for racing. Love and respect for horses underpin the work of everybody in the sport, especially the dedicated stable staff who care for racehorses all 365 days of the year.
British racing does not stand still – it is continually striving to make the sport safer for horses and participants. Over the last 20 years, British racing has invested over £40 million in veterinary research and education with funding invested by the Levy Board and the Racing Foundation. In 2020, the Horse Welfare Board launched the sport’s new welfare strategy, A Life Well Lived, to ensure British racing maintains the best possible care for the animals in its care.
Of the 26 projects identified within the strategy, two have been delivered and 22 are funded and in progress. Areas, where progress has already been made, include the introduction of a 30-day foal notification to improve traceability and changes to obstacle design following groundbreaking research into equine welfare.
James Evans MS said: “It was great to have the opportunity to learn more about National Racehorse Week, which provides a unique opportunity for members of the public to visit yards and spend time with thoroughbred racehorses. The Welsh racing industry is a key contributor to our rural economy here in Wales and I hope to see the industry continue to grow and thrive in the years ahead."