Get a speedy thoroughbred, find someone light and crazy enough to ride it, get it fit, enter a race and win…if only becoming a racehorse trainer was that simple! For those of us who aren’t immersed in the industry, it might surprise you how much is required in order to get a license to train.
All of horseracing in the UK is run by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), and they are responsible for granting Trainers Licenses, of which there are different types:-
- Permit Trainers who are eligible to train horses for National Hunt Racing only, for themselves or immediate family on an amateur basis
- Flat only / National Hunt only / Combined Flat and NH Licenses allow trainers to train under one or both codes on a professional basis.
Professional trainers need to apply to the BHA and there are a number of costs and requirements that must be fulfilled including;
- Paying a fee of £958-20 for the Combined License, and also a fee of £238-10 for a yard inspection carried out by BHA Inspectors.
- Trainers must have a minimum of 3 horses and ‘appropriate facilities’
- First time applicants must have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in racing including 2 years in a senior position i.e. Assistant Trainer or have run a Point to Point yard for at least 2 years with a minimum of 10 winners
- Trainers must have a Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Racehorse Care and Management
- They must then complete Levels 1, 2 and 3 of a training programme run by the British Racing School or Northern Racing College, this course costs around £2300
- They must have attended a 1 day course at Weatherbys’ offices in Wellingborough
- They must train from Licensed premises with suitable gallops, starting stalls for flat trainers and hurdles and fences for National Hunt trainers
- They must also be a ‘Fit and proper person’ to hold a license which is determined by the BHA!
Although this may seem a tall order to become a racehorse trainer, it’s vital that all trainers have the right education and experience to support the BHA’s mission to ‘lead the development and growth of racing, and prioritise the health and welfare of the sport’s participants’ – thus ensuring a bright future for the industry.
Once an aspiring trainer has fulfilled all of these criteria, they will have a license to train and now simply need to hope they have horses that are fast enough to actually win races!
One such trainer is Garry Moss who has trained very successfully for three seasons at previous yards, where he had 40 winners and 56 placed horses from only 257 runners, a winning strike rate of 16%! Garry is now waiting for a license to train from a purpose built yard in the Scottish Borders.
We asked Garry about the challenges in getting a license when we visited him recently and he told us, ‘The biggest challenge faced in obtaining a license these days is having the right people behind you. It's important that you have a good backer or loyal owners to support you by sending you good quality horses. You also need the right premises and facilities including a decent gallops!’
The new establishment in Jedburgh will have a 1 mile all-weather gallop which will run alongside the 1 mile 4 furlong grass gallop currently in use. There is also already a 5 furlong woodchip circle which will make it a super-equipped training facility once complete.
We asked Garry what he most loves about being a racehorse trainer, ‘Obviously, the best part of this job is being successful and having winners, but what I love about training race horses is getting to know and understand each individual. This is so important to ensure their wellbeing and ultimately keep them sweet for racing. They have to enjoy their work, they like routine and they are so susceptible to change. Like us, if you are unhappy in your work you simply wouldn't do it!’
We wish Garry all the best with his new establishment in Jedburgh and also for lots of winners in 2019.