Brexit bound to disrupt transport of horses to and from Britain

“We are looking to see if we can continue the facilitative movement of horses which was there beforehand but that depends on a trade deal”

Irish racing's top official has warned change is coming in relation to the transport of horses to and from Britain no matter what the outcome of talks on a trade deal between the European Union and the UK.

With all eyes on the outcome of those negotiations, Horse Racing Ireland’s chief executive stressed on Monday that disruption is inevitable at the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1st.

"No matter what happens there is going to be change. But it's a question of the degree of change," said Brian Kavanagh. "The Tripartite agreement (allowing movement of horses between Ireland, Britain and France) will fall. There will be new customs arrangements and certain requirements in place whatever happens.

“We are looking to see if we can continue the facilitative movement of horses which was there beforehand but that depends on a trade deal.

“If there is no trade deal, clearly there will a lot of difficulties moving horses both ways. With a trade deal at least technical and veterinary solutions can be found,” he added.

Britain’s racing authorities have already advised that horses shouldn’t be moved between the UK and the EU for at least the first two weeks of 2021.

As things stand nothing has been resolved about the UK’s status as a “third country” for animal health purposes following the end of the transition period.

Although January is a relatively quiet time of the year in terms of racing and sales, it is when the breeding industry starts to step up a gear.

“It is when the breeding industry starts to get moving in terms of English and continental mares coming to Irish stallions,” Kavanagh said.

“That has been got down to a fine art in that the timing of such trips has been very precise. So in terms of delays in that, and extra documentation, there will be a lot of problems. But talking to other sectors, we’re all in the same boat.”

The Mick Winters trained Chatham Street Lad, meanwhile, is a general 16-1 shot to bridge a long gap in Irish success in this Saturday's big handicap chase at Cheltenham.

Sir Oj in 2005 is the only Irish trained winner of the historic Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, won by star names of the past such Flyingbolt, in the last two decades.

Winters has left Chatham Street Lad, a winner at Cork last month, among 24 entries for Saturday’s contest.

Gordon Elliott has kept open the option of being represented in other races on Saturday's card at Cheltenham, including the course winner Duffle Coat in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial.

Elliott has also left the Grade 3 Monksfield Hurdle winner Fakiera in a Grade 2 novices event on Saturday’s programme.