If you’re not sick to death hearing about Brexit then this should do the trick. According to the British Horseracing Authority, next year Grand National could look very different if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It seems that a no deal resolution would potentially have a huge impact on Irish trainers and Irish horses.
The border/no border debate between the Republic of Ireland the UK could see the end of the Tripartite Agreement system which allows horses to be easily moved between the UK, France and Ireland. The effect would largely impact horses heading to the UK from Ireland for major festivals such as Cheltenham and Aintree.
Ross Hamilton from the BHA told Radio 5live’s Wake Up To Money Business Of Sport: “If the position was that the UK government chose to immediately put up borders and tariffs then would make it extremely difficult for thoroughbreds to move.
“It would only be about a month ahead of the Grand National in 2019, which would be quite an impact, a threat to potential Irish horses’ participation in the race, Irish jockeys being able to compete in races over here if it was a really hard, no-deal Brexit.”
In the 2018 race renewal, 16 of the runners were trained in Ireland including the winner, Tiger Roll, who is trained by Gordon Elliott. Tiger Roll is one of eight Irish-trained horses that have won the Grand National since 1999.
The BHA has confirmed that it is working hard on its preparations for Brexit, examining the potential implications of all scenarios and taking preparatory action.
Hamilton added “We do get horses from further afield than France and Ireland to compete in our races and we have an established procedure in place to deal with those countries.”
And while there may be some stumbling blocks initially, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it must kept in mind that plenty of Irish horses travel as far as Australia for major racing events and that trainers frequently have to transport runners for races such as the Kentucky Derby in the USA.
Ballydoyle handler Aidan O’Brien sent a team of seven horses to the Dubai World Cup earlier this year and all travelled there and back quite safely and with the minimum of fuss so I’m sure trainers and connections will be able to cope getting through any potential red tape for the Grand National.