The British Horseracing Authority has published its review of the buying and selling of racehorses which was completed earlier this year.
The 80-page document was commissioned two years ago following concerns expressed by the BHA board over the perception of unethical practices and experiences in the bloodstock industry.
The report was compiled by a group led by Justin Felice, an external expert in anti-corruption, ethics and integrity. Contributions were received from a large number of bloodstock industry participants in Ireland and Britain.
One of the report's recommendations is the creation of a Bloodstock Industry Forum (BIF), which has already been established and includes representatives of the racing authorities, sales companies, bloodstock agents and breeder groups. However, a copy of the report was leaked to the press in August, leading to the BHA's exclusion from the BIF while the source of the leak was investigated.
In its executive summary the report states:"The Review found that the bloodstock industry was generally a safe environment in which to buy and sell bloodstock and the vast majority of industry participants appear to display high standards of integrity.
"However, the interviewee feedback also revealed a widespread knowledge and acknowledgment of unethical practices being conducted with relative impunity in the bloodstock industry for many years, with a small number of unscrupulous individuals being identified repeatedly by different interviewees as people who pose a real risk to the integrity and reputation of the entire bloodstock industry."
According to the report, the most prevalent unethical and/or unlawful practices are secret profiteering, dual representation, luck money and bidding up.
The report makes eight recommendations - and strongly urges the relevant authorities to have them implemented in both Ireland and Britain.
The recommendations are:
1. Establishment of a bloodstock industry forum
2. Putting in place binding agreements between the BHA and the sales houses
3. The establishment of cross-jurisdictional regulatory structures between Ireland and Britain in support of the recommendations
4. Recognition, on an industry wide basis, of the BHA as the authority with overall responsibility for regulating the conduct of all those bloodstock industry participants under its jurisdiction
5. The BHA to replace the Code of Practice with a new code which should be more robust and fit for purpose
6. The creation and implementation by the BHA of an agent licensing system
7. Put in place a more effective education, communication and awareness programme for all participants in the bloodstock industry
8. Sales houses to consider whether there are aspects of their sales/auction processes
which could be made more transparent to assist in deterring any improper practices
INDUSTRY REACTION TO THE REPORT IN THE IRISH FIELD ON SATURDAYClick here to see and download the full report