From the desk of the ROA President Rachel Hood
It is an extraordinary fact of life that a number of racehorse owners in Great Britain are not members of the ROA. Although the ROA has over 7,000 members, there are in the region of 1,000 registered owners with a horse in training who have not yet joined the organisation that exists to promote and protect their interests.
It may be that none of the tangible benefits that come from being an ROA member are of interest to them, though this seems strange given how significant these benefits are. There again, it could be that some of these non-members are against the ethos of the ROA; that they are not interested in trying to increase British racing’s woefully inadequate levels of prize-money for the benefit of the whole industry or are possibly indifferent as to whether or not owners are properly looked after when they go racing. In which case, sadly, they would have never heard of the ROA’s Gold Standard Awards and would be oblivious to the fact that these awards have been very effective in improving an owner’s raceday experience.
It is also possible they may be unaware of the extensive work the ROA Council does on their behalf and how much time is spent on representing the interests of all owners on the various committees that make up the administration of British racing.
It may be they are simply not sufficiently immersed in the subject to know that racing is an international industry that is, directly and indirectly, responsible for the employment of over 100,000 people in the UK, that it is the second biggest spectator sport in the country and that it fuels betting turnover of £15 billion a year. If they didn’t know any of this, then they wouldn’t necessarily grasp why the ROA fulfils such an important role in fighting for the cause of British owners who, collectively, inject over £500m annually into this sport.
It is, of course, equally possible that some non-members are fully aware of these details but simply choose not to be a member of the ROA because they know that the invaluable work carried out by the ROA is going to be done whether they are a member or not. Shamefully, they are content to have a ‘free ride’.
But, even then, it is hard to imagine why, if they have the equivalent of at least one full horse in training, they would turn their backs on the opportunity of receiving complimentary racecourse entry at 1,300 fixtures, or shun the protection given by third party insurance cover to a level that allows them to sleep at night. At the same time, one presumes they are not registered for VAT or, if they are, they already have a sponsor in place. If this is the case, it might explain why the ROA sponsorship scheme is of no interest to them.
We can also only presume the non-member contingent among racehorse owners does not include anyone who might have a runner in one of the 100 races in which the winning owner now receives at least £3,150 as a Horsemen’s Group Bonus, on top of prize-money, as long as he or she is a member of the ROA.
Similarly, the chance to take advantage of the 20% discount on BHA registration charges will have also passed them by and left them unaware that this discount equates to a saving of £75 for a sole owner setting up for the first time.
Sadly, my words here may be wasted on those owners who are non-members since it is unlikely they would have received this beautiful monthly magazine which is yet another very worthwhile ROA benefit. Neither will they know about the ROA facilities at Cheltenham and Ascot, or, for that matter, how many of our members enjoy the ROA AGM and the ROA Awards.
As I said, extraordinary that any owner is not a member of the ROA.
4 July 2012