Thursday, February 14, 2013

Further correction/apology

Since writing last night's posts, I have received further confirmation that I was disseminating misinformation.  As I said in my initial correction/apology, it is the case that anyone can join the ROA, just that to receive the full benefits of membership one needs to own at least half a horse.  Which is fair enough.  Now I can add a further correction that any horse can be made eligible for the bonus: he or she just needs to have more than half of his nominated partners in the racing partnership ROA members, which in Ethics Girl's case would mean at least two of the three owners being ROA members.  So all horses can be made eligible - it is just more expensive for syndicate-owned horses than for individually-owned horses.

In light of this, it's probably no bad thing that I restate/rephrase my views on the situation, which are:-

I am very pro-ROA.  When we have new owners in this stable, when we discuss the matter I invariably recommend that they join the ROA; and I think that all of the new ones we have had in the past few years have done so.  I think that owners should be in the ROA because it does a very good job on owners' behalves.

Furthermore, I do not blame the ROA for pushing in this instance for something which I believe to be wrong.  Although I believe it to be wrong that this full bonus is only available to ROA members, I don't see that it's wrong for the ROA to have pushed for that.  As I have said, the ROA's brief is to do what is best for ROA members - in fact, it would be doing its members a disservice if it fought for the interests of non-members equally with the interests of members.  It is, though, just a fact of life that, with any trade body, benefits which it secures tend to help all practitioners of that trade, whether or not they be members - eg, when the PJA secures a pay rise for jockeys or an improvement in facilities for the riders somewhere, non-members invariably get exactly the same benefits as members.

As regards this bonus, with trainers, it is, of course, a very different matter: our loyalties clearly (or clearly to my eyes, anyway), ought to lie with all of our owners, whether or not they have joined the ROA.  That is why I am very disappointed that the NTF has not opposed this scheme.  If I recommend that an owner joins the ROA and he does not do so (and there are two very good reasons for not doing so, namely that he might consider that there are already enough hidden costs of ownership such as annual registration of colours and authority to act etc. without taking on another one, and also that he might consider that he is a member of his trade body for his work, but that racing is his hobby and that he has no wish to get involved in its politics, preferring instead that others, ie his trainer, fight his corner for him) then I should fight for that owner's interests no less hard than I would fight for his interests were he an ROA member.

For the same reason, I am very disappointed that the BHA have given this scheme the go-ahead: as with trainers, I feel that the BHA ought to be fighting for the interests of all owners.

Furthermore, there is another point which is not irrelevant: the money in question is generated by the participation in races of all horses, whether they are ROA-owned or not.  They are all horses in training, all being paid for by someone, all equally keeping the show running by racing, and thus should all be equally eligible.

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