Dollar says: “I have had a lot of discussions about initiatives for stayers, and everybody seems to agree that something needed to be done in a meaningful way, and that meant hard cash. We have to influence the thought processes not only of breeders, but also bloodstock agents and their owners. Agents need to be able to say, ‘This is a lovely horse, but he could be four before reaching his best – however, the rewards are now there on the racecourse. And he could one day be sold as a jumper or to go abroad’.”
He added that a ‘Plus 20’, with £20,000 bonuses for staying races, could be an option to consider.
That unified approach will be important says Lane, who believes sales companies can play an important role by placing yearlings who will need time and a trip into popular catalogues. “If they are by a good mare they don’t have go into Book 3,” says Lane.
Announcing the stayers’ initiatives, BHA director Ruth Quinn admitted the changes will be a harder sell than introducing the Commonwealth Cup for three-year-old sprinters, saying: “It will be much more difficult to change behaviour quickly with this project.”
Peter Hockenhull of Shade Oak Stud would seem to agree, saying: “Fashion is a hard taskmaster and it can take a long time to turn. Will it change things overnight? I think not, but if you don’t do anything, nothing will get done.”
Hockenhull says his resident sires Telescope and 2018 newcomer Dartmouth are being marketed to Flat and Jump breeders alike, adding: “We have a number of breeders, often owner/breeders, who don’t want to get involved in sprinting, who are not swayed by fashion, and who want to use a stallion who has won over middle distances.”
If the Flat cannot supply the horses who stay the trip, others may well exploit the opportunities.
– Peter Hockenhull, owner, Shade Oak Stud
The current trend of labelling middle-distance horses as ‘Jump sires’ the moment they retire will not be easily lost, and probably gained some impetus when the 2017 Derby was won by a horse whose sire, the 2011 Derby winner Pour Moi, had joined the ranks of Coolmore’s National Hunt division at Grange Stud.
Hockenhull, a man from a jumping background and proud to stand Jump sires, says: “I can see these horses being labelled Jump sires for a fair while yet, but I can also envisage more Jump trainers targeting these better prizes on the Flat – If the Flat cannot supply the horses who stay the trip, others may well exploit the opportunities.”
UPGRADED STAYING RACES
Goodwood Cup (2 miles) at Goodwood now Group 1
Queens Vase (1m 6f) at Royal Ascot now Group 2
Lillie Langtry Stakes (1m 6f) at Goodwood now Group 2
March Stakes (1m 6f) at Goodwood now Group 3
Silver Cup (1m 6f) at York now Group 3
NEW STAYING RACE
Brontë Cup (1m 6f) at York, Group 3 (older fillies and mares)
THE WH STAYERS' MILLION
£1m to the horse that wins one of the following prep races in May and then goes on to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Qatar Goodwood Cup at Goodwood and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York
Longines Sagaro Stakes (Ascot)
Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes (Chester)
Yorkshire Cup (York)
Matchbook Henry II Stakes (Sandown Park)
The £1m bonus will be divided 70% to the owner and 30% split equally between the trainer, stable staff, breeder and jockey