Day At The Track

British Harness Racing Development Fund launches

02:38 AM 09 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Logo British Harness Racing Club Fund.jpg

England, UK - Today, Friday 8th December, sees the official launch of a new organisation set to work towards securing the future of racing in the UK. The British Harness Racing Development Fund (BHRDF), founded by Coalford Stud's Joseph Maw, seeks to generate sufficient funding to purchase a suitable piece of land for the development of a half mile hard track in a central location for the benefit of all BHRC licence holders to race on in 2019.

In a statement to be published in the British Harness Racing Club's (BHRC) membership calendar, the BHRDF describes the present situation as follows:

"British harness racing is currently at its lowest ebb; we are at rock bottom and if we continue on our current path then harness racing will cease to exist in Britain in the not so distant future.

Over the last 10 years the fixture list has been reduced dramatically. The main reason? The sport's two main facilities (York Harness Raceway & Tir Prince Raceway) are owned/operated by private individuals who, for various reasons, choose not to operate a regular weekly fixture list and can take the venues away at any time (York Harness Raceway is currently for sale). Corbiewood Stadium has been purchased for development and is currently rented for each racing season, thus making it inadequate for the future development of harness racing. Tai'r Gwaith (Amman Valley) also does not operate a regular weekly fixture list.

There is absolutely no sense in buying, owning, breeding, training, racing and investing in Standardbreds if we do not have regular all-weather facilities where we can race them. No sense whatsoever.

The only people who can save this sport are ourselves."

Under the tagline 'Save our sport - back this plan', the BHRDF has set out a detailed action plan to raise the much-needed funding to proceed with the plan to purchase land and build an all-weather track. A steering committee, featuring 15 of the UK's leading breeders, owners, trainers, drivers and commentators, has been formed to forge ahead with this plan with the full backing of the country's harness racing governing body, the BHRC.

In addition to money pledged by members of the steering committee, licence holders will be asked to pay an annual membership to the fund which, further down the line, will reward them with certain benefits once the track is up and running and give them stakeholder status. The message is that this will be a track run by the members, for the members, and will secure the future of harness racing in the UK.

In conjunction with the official launch of the Development Fund, a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BHRDevelopmentFund) has been set up which will feature regular updates on the progress of the steering committee. Another key feature of the organisation is transparency, and the committee wishes to keep interested parties up to date via an easily accessible platform.

Finally, the BHRDF has set up a GoFundMe account (https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/britannia-parklets-make-it-happen) and it is hoped that harness racing enthusiasts from every corner of the earth will hear their plight - UK harness racing has an enthusiastic and unique array of participants and this may well be our last chance at saving this wonderful sport on our shores before it is too late.

by Sarah Thomas, for the BHRCF

 

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