Thursday, 24 March 2016

Mopping Up at Cartmel

Every smart grandstand needs a clean floor. Every clean floor needs a dirty mop - which is why I was so excited to learn that there was still one week left to register for the racing industry’s new MOP Scheme - promoted by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

I’m not saying that I was disappointed but, on contacting the TBA, I was directed to an application form for the registration of fillies - for the ‘Mares’ Owners Prize Scheme’. Not what I was expecting at all... I suppose I’ll just have to continue polishing the floor with my socks.

But still, it’s good news for racehorse owners – who can earn a bonus of £10,000 per race if their horses win particular races, restricted to mares, over hurdles or fences. There is also a £5,000 bonus for winners of Mares Only National Hunt Flat Races. To qualify for the bonus, the mares must be appropriately registered. Breeders have until 31st March to nominate any fillies that were foaled in 2013 - those foaled in 2012 should already be registered.

Only a fifth of horses currently racing over jumps are female which, given Annie Power’s Champion Hurdle winning display last week, is a great shame. The racing public is missing out – to see how good mares can be, watch the first race at Haydock on Saturday (in which our selection is Card Game) and tell me if you can see any difference between these horses and the ones that run later. 

The TBA has promoted MOPS to encourage owners and trainers to give mares a chance of proving themselves on the track – simultaneously underpinning the selection of the best breeding stock according to racing ability. The enhanced prize money will improve demand for British bred fillies, hopefully enhancing the economic viability of British breeding enterprises.

And there’s even more good news for mare-owners at Cartmel. Hadwins Motor Group, who have form as long-time supporters of the racecourse, have agreed to sponsor an entire programme of races especially for mares. The five race series will consist of three handicap hurdle races, a maiden hurdle and a novice hurdle race – which will qualify for the £10,000 MOPS bonus scheme.

In addition, Hadwins Motor Group are providing a £1,000 bonus of their own - for the stable that earns the most points in the series. Points will be awarded for each runner and for those that achieve a place in the first three. 

Hadwins Motor Group stables three major dealerships – Hadwins Volkswagen, Hadwins Approved (in Kendal) and Lake District Audi. For as long as they’ve been attending Cartmel, we’ve made fairly predictable quips about ‘horsepower’ – but no longer. From now on it’s all about girl-power… Just don’t ask them to mop up afterwards.

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