THE Turf Club and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee have created a new limited company to handle racing's integrity affairs.

From January 1st horse racing in Ireland will be regulated by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).

The IHRB will be responsible for the regulation of flat racing, National Hunt racing and point-to-points. It will also be the internationally recognised Irish racing authority in respect of its functions.

Previously regulation of the sport had been carried out by the Turf Club and the INHSC, both private clubs. The Irish Field understands that members of these two private clubs could have been exposed to legal actions taken by trainers, jockeys or other parties affected by Turf Club penalties. The creation of the IHRB, a limited company, closes that loophole. Recent changes in legislation afforded the clubs the opportunity to make the change.

A press release issued by the Turf Club and INHSC stated: "The members of both clubs took the decision to create the new company which they believe is a more appropriate structure for regulation in the current environment."

Both the Turf Club and the INHSC will continue to exist as private clubs. Each will nominate three directors to the board of the IHRB and their members will still have the option of continuing to act as stewards at all race meetings. All staff will transfer to the IHRB and will be employed by that company as and from January 1st.

Peter Allen, the incoming chairman (and current senior steward of the INHSC), said: “Racing, both as a sport and an industry, faces many challenges today. Irish racing has always had an excellent reputation and it is vital that continues to be the case. The new company structure will ensure we continue to invest in the integrity services that underpin that reputation."

Meta Osborne, senior steward of the Turf Club, said: "The Turf Club has served Irish racing well for more than 200 years. Ireland is recognised worldwide in racing circles as having the highest standards for integrity. I am confident that the IHRB will raise these standards to an even higher level.”

The key functions of the IHRB are:

> To be solely and independently responsible for making and enforcing the rules of racing

> To provide adequate integrity services for horseracing

> To ensure the provision of on course integrity services by employing monitoring and controlling of the activities of horseracing officials

> To licence all participants in horseracing in Ireland

> To make all decisions relating to doping control, forensic and handicapping in respect of horseracing

> To be responsible for the representation of Irish horseracing internationally in respect of its functions

> To enforce the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Regulations for point-to-point steeplechases

Joining Peter Allen as directors of the IHRB are Harry McCalmont, Martin O'Donnell, Caroline Corballis, Colm O'Flaherty and J.J. Power.

The website will go live on January 1st.