Sunday, 15 October 2017

Well Done to the ROA on Passing the 8,000 Member Milestone – Do Join If You’re Not A Member


Owners for Owners have always been a big supporter of the Racehorse Owners Association and have worked closely with a number of their key executives over recent years, not least when supporting the BHA’s Pillar Team on Ownership and drives to encourage syndicates to become more transparent. Nothing at all has changed in our view about the ROA – it is absolutely vital that owners are properly represented as THE key stakeholder in racing, and this very much remains the case.

So full marks to the ROA who announced last week that they have reached their 8,000th member, which is a really significant milestone. They have doubled the membership base in the last 20 years and according to their press release there are ten times as many members now as there were in the late 1960s. Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive, emphasised that: “Owners have never had such a strong voice, and our involvement with the Horsemen’s Group and soon the Racing Authority means owners, as the single biggest investors in the sport, cannot be ignored.”

In the total scheme of things for owners, to join the ROA for a mere 63p per day (£230 per year) is an absolute bargain when you consider all the benefits provided. Don’t worry, I’m not paid to be their PR supremo, but here is a summary:

  • Free racecourse admission: members with 50% or more of a horse in training, or those running syndicates, enjoy free admission to over 1,300 fixtures through the Racecourse Badge Scheme for Owners, now administered through the PASS card. If you have less than 50% ownership, you still enjoy free admission at a choice of over 800 fixtures. The value of that, if you are a regular racegoer, is huge, with the ROA estimating that it is worth £500 per year alone.
  • Third party liability insurance: hopefully no-one ever has to use it, but it is a vital element to have, and annual membership of the ROA provides automatic cover for up to £10 million, worth almost £300 if you were taking out insurance on your own.
  • SIS Owner Sponsorship: which allows owners to reclaim VAT on the costs of ownership. Absolutely vital for those in yards that don’t have a sponsor. The ROA estimates this is worth on average at least £4,000 in reclaimed VAT.
  • 20% discount on most BHA registration fees: every little helps, as they say. On average this is worth £57 per member.
  • Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder magazine: as a member you receive a free copy every month, whereas to buy it costs £55 per year.
  • Car park label: which gives priority parking at racecourses on virtually all race days, which is a good saving as well.
  • £2,000 weekly Owners’ Jackpot: offering members the opportunity to win bonuses on top of prize-money.
  • Expert advice: the ROA is an excellent source of information to owners and, should it be necessary, can arrange legal advice as well.
  • Hospitality and social events: there are regular offers for exclusive hospitality facilities as well as a wide range of social events and visits.

So it is a no-brainer really, isn’t it, to be a member?

Having said all that, I’d still like to see the ROA have a much more active role in British racing, and be increasingly assertive in arguing the case for owners at racing’s top table, particularly the owners who represent the grass roots of the sport. I still believe that across racing the top trainer / owner / breeder perspective is given too much credence, and on occasions there can still be a rather patronising approach adopted towards those who are racing primarily at Class 4 levels and below at the lesser tracks.

From a strategic perspective I believe a lot more could be done to give real visibility to the improvement gaps necessary across every element of racing and the racehorse supply chain. And, most importantly, the steps needed to address them properly. In other words I don’t just want the ROA to be a representative body; I’d like them to step up to the plate and become much more a campaigning group. The more members they have, the better, and I hope in the not too distant future we see them hit the huge milestone of 10,000 members. Well done to Charlie Liverton and his team.



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