Representatives from key bloodstock and racing industry bodies have formed a new organisation, the Bloodstock Industry Forum, in order to "maintain and improve confidence in the buying and selling of bloodstock in Britain".
The forum's creation was a key recommendation of the BHA-commissioned review into the bloodstock industry. The review, a version of which was leaked to the Racing Post last month, highlighted some major issues within the industry which threaten to undermine its future and reputation.
The review's author, former top policeman Justin Felice, found that while the vast majority of bloodstock industry professionals operate honestly, a small minority engage in unscrupulous, and in some cases potentially unlawful, activities.
One of Felice's eight recommendations in the report was the creation of a forum comprising the BHA and industry representatives, suggested as a means to implement Felice's other recommendations, which include the introduction of a more robust bloodstock code of practice.
The forum was established at a meeting last Thursday in Newmarket attended by representatives from the Federation of Bloodstock Agents, Goffs, National Trainers' Federation, Racehorse Owners Association, Tattersalls and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. All those organisations in attendance are now forum members.
The BHA, which Felice recommended should become the regulatory body of the bloodstock industry, was a notable absentee from the meeting. According to a statement from participants, the BHA "was not represented at the meeting while they continue to conduct internal investigations into the leak of their own confidential report".
The forum will meet regularly with the aim to maintain and improve confidence in the buying and selling of bloodstock in Britain. An overhaul of the bloodstock code of practice is also being worked on.
Once completed, the code will feature in all Tattersalls and Goffs catalogues, be incorporated into all Tattersalls and Goffs vendor and purchaser signed agreements, and be adopted by the forum members.
Tattersalls director Jimmy George, who chaired the meeting, said: "The Bloodstock Industry Forum is up and running, and genuine progress has been made at the first meeting.
"All of the participants are, and have always been, wholly committed to the fundamental aim of renewing and strengthening the bloodstock industry 'code of practice' and to maintaining the global reputation for integrity that is central to the continued success of the British bloodstock industry."
Despite the BHA's absence from the first meeting, British racing's governing body could be represented when the forum next convenes as George added: "The group will meet again in October, hopefully with renewed BHA participation, and is determined to sustain the momentum behind these important initiatives."
Felice also recommended the forum should strive for harmonisation with Ireland, a view shared by Goffs chief executive Henry Beeby, who attended the initial meeting.
He said: "The British and Irish bloodstock industries are in effect one industry working to one standard with vendors and purchasers from both countries interacting seamlessly at Goffs and Tattersalls sales on both sides of the Irish Sea.
"It is therefore intended that the Bloodstock Industry Forum will fully engage with representatives of the relevant bodies in Ireland to deliver a collaborative approach to ensure one high standard is maintained across all our sales regardless of location."