BHA give ‘unequivocal support’ to under-fire Nick Rust

Racing has not taken place since Wetherby's meeting on March 18.Racing has not taken place since Wetherby's meeting on March 18.
Racing has not taken place since Wetherby's meeting on March 18. | JPIMedia
CALLS from Classic-winning trainers for British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust to be replaced have been rejected by the governing body.

Middleham’s Mark Johnston, who is recovering from Covid-19, and Ralph Beckett, are among those reported to have written to BHA chair Annamarie Phelps to express their disquiet.

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Rust, who is based in North Yorkshire, announced at the start of the year that he intended to leave the role at the end of 2020. But it is clear that racing is split over how to plan for its resumption – and that the sport lacks influence within the Government.

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Action from Wetherby's meeting on March 18 - the last before the Covid-19 lockdown.Action from Wetherby's meeting on March 18 - the last before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Action from Wetherby's meeting on March 18 - the last before the Covid-19 lockdown. | PA Wire

“The BHA Board met briefly to discuss media reporting of criticism of the BHA and its chief executive,” said a statement.

“The racing industry, like everyone at this time, puts the health of the public and our participants first. This was clear in our decision to suspend racing and is a central focus of our planning for resumption.

“Our staff are focusing their efforts right now on planning for the resumption of racing as soon as possible.

“They are working in full collaboration with trainers, racecourses and others.”

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The statement added: “Good progress has been made and racing will have detailed proposals incorporating expert medical opinion to present to government as it prepares to review the current restrictions.

“It is encouraging to see the positive results of our dialogue with Government in weekend media reports of the government’s desire for sport to resume.

“Nick, his team, and the industry colleagues with whom they are working so closely, are looking forward and are united in wanting the sport to resume as soon as it is possible. They have the Board’s full and unequivocal support.”

No racing has taken place in Britain since Wetherby’s meeting on March 18.

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Though the BHA still hope for a behind closed doors resumption next month, it has not set a preferred date.

Former Yorkshire trainer Rebecca Menzies has come up with an exciting initiative to support the NHS in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The County Durham-based handler ran a competition on social media to name a two-year-old daughter of Camacho out of Dubai Sea.

After more than 1,000 entries, the name eventually given to the one-eyed filly was Rainbow Applause, who will carry the colours of Rebecca Menzies Racing Partnerships.

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Menzies said: “I think the post reached around 45,000 people, which was amazing.”

Lease shares in the Rainbow Applause NHS Charity Racing Club are available at £50 per share, which will cover all costs from May 1, 2020 until May 1, 2021.

All prize-money the filly earns and any profits made by the racing club will be donated to charities directly associated with the National Health Service.

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