Racing UK sells it’s rights to the broadcaster Sky, Australia learn from Britain’s mistakes and ban anabolic steroid use in horse racing, and the British Horse Racing Authority gives reassurances that a seized consignment of veterinary products has no link to the racing industry.
If you are a British horse racing punter then you are going to be delighted to hear that the pay-tv channel, Racing UK, has sold it’s rights to its service to the satellite broadcast giant Sky in a three-year deal.
Racing UK, owned by the Racecourse Media Group, has the TV rights for most of the top class racing at Cheltenham, Aintree, Newmarket and Epsom, and currently charges punters a fee to watch their winners passing the finishing line. It’s believed their subscriber list runs into up to 44,000 in-home subscribers and 3,600 pubs, clubs and bookmakers.
Sky already have a racing channel called ‘At The Races’ and it’s believed rather than set up two different racing channels – they tried this with The Racing Channel and it went belly-up – they are going to amalgamate the two products into one channel jam-packed with the very best racing action in Britain.
“Not only does the deal benefit both parties strategically, but it is also good for racing.” Richard Fitzgerald, the chief executive of Racecourse Media Group, told The Times.
No steroids for Australian horses
Just five months after the British based Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned for eight years for administering horses under his care with anabolic steroids, the Australian Racing Board (ARB) has moved to ban steroid use in Australian horse racing.
The ban will take effect from 1 May 2014 and will apply to all thoroughbreds from the age of six months.
“The ban on anabolic steroids goes far beyond any other racing jurisdiction outside of Europe, and was decided by the ARB Board after lengthy consideration of veterinary and scientific advice, and consultation with trainers’ and owners’ associations,” chief executive Peter McGauran told BBC sport before continuing, “The ARB has adopted a zero-tolerance policy to the use of anabolic steroids and will institute heavy penalties for breaches of the ban.”
Unlicensed veterinary products were not destined for use in British horse racing
The British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) have assured the racing community that a seized consignment of veterinary products that were not licensed for use in Britain, were not destined for use in the British horse racing industry.
The news will come as a huge relief for a sport that has had its fair share of drug stories with the Godolphin steroid debacle and Frankie Dettori cocaine scandal.
The products were recovered from Moorley Farm East in Newmarket, and the potential link came about because Darley Stud Management, the company behind Sheikh Mohammed’s breeding operation, owns the farm.
BHA Spokesman Robin Mounsey told BBC News, ‘this is a matter for DEFRA (department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
“The BHA became aware of the seizure from Moorley Farm as a consequence of our existing working relationship with Defra, as two regulatory bodies with interests which are occasionally shared.
“Defra notified us of the seizure of veterinary care products which are not all licensed for use in the UK. They also clarified that in the view of the Defra there is no link between the seizure and the racing industry and the products were not intended for use on thoroughbreds.
“The property in question is not licensed by the BHA and we understand it is not part of Darley’s racing operation.”
It’s reported that 124 veterinary medicinal products were seized in the haul.