Sue Young’s was elected President in 2021, and as she handed over to the new President she was thanked for her hard work over the past few years. Sue has been a great President, she has lead from the front and dealt with each and every challenge as they have come her way. Always enthusiastic regarding the various aspects of STAGBI. STAGBI has kept Sue very busy but she still managed to find time to breed her own mares and stands her own Stallion Tom Hill (US). Obviously Sue has been absolutely delighted by the success of Tom Hill’s progeny this year and this only his second crop. Congratulations to her and we wish her every success with her 2nd new stallion ‘Wild Bill (US)’ who will be arriving in GB very shortly and will stand alongside Tom Hill (US). Good luck with them both and keep up the good work as a STAGBI Director.
STAGBI PRESIDENTS REPORT 2023
I am writing this with one week to go before I conclude my term as STAGBI President and hand over the reins to Ryan O’Neil. I must say that working with the STAGBI Board continues to be a pleasure, as always. We work as a team, not only as a Passport Issuing Organisation, but to endeavour to promote and benefit Standardbreds in all disciplines. I would like to say a thank you to Stacey and Colette who continue to run our office smoothly and efficiently on a day to day basis, and also to our Directors who give up their personal time for consultation.
STAGBI has had some changes to the board in 2023, Mandy Stanley left us during the summer and after many years Nicky Hannon and Sandra Wiegel are retiring. On behalf of the Board, thank you so much for your time given to STAGBI we will certainly miss you! We are also excited to welcome our prospective Directors Charlotte Walker, Elsa McKechnie, Elizabeth Collingwood and Joseph Maw to the team, who I am sure will bring new ideas to the table. We look forward to working with you all!
It has been a busy year at STAGBI. A huge effort was made in the first part of the year to launch our new website. We are delighted with the result, it is easy to navigate and now working as an invaluable source of information to members. Having the ability to access information and pay for services online has also benefitted the workings of the office. Having the new website has also given us feedback, we are amazed at the viewings not only from the UK but around the World. Without doubt eyes are on us and it is reassuring that we now have a professional, up to date look that we can be proud of. Endless hours and effort were put into the website by Jean (Jeanius designs), Gwenan Thomas and Sarah Thomas so thank you for the commitment and determination to get this done. We have had great feedback on the website so far and can only assume everyone is navigating it along with the breeding data base without issue.
One of the highlights of the year was the invitation for STAGBI to attend the World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championships in Berlin. We elected Gwenan Thomas as our STAGBI delegate with Ryan O’Neil and myself as observers, with all three of us funding our own trip. This was my first time at the conference which is attended by delegates from all over the World. It certainly was a full on week with numerous daily conferences presented by expert guest speakers lecturing on various topics relating to Harness Racing. Committees were in place discussing specific aspects of the industry, which included Breeding, Constitution and Regulation, Equine Health and Integrity, Marketing and Business and also Racing and Wagering. Between STAGBI and the BHRC we had at least one delegate attending each Committee meeting, where each country’s statistics, issues and ideas were discussed on various topics. Out of these meeting came directives for consideration regarding the overall health of the sport. Without doubt Animal Welfare was the predominant theme for the Conference with Speakers, many of whom were Veternarians, discussing performance enhancers, whip use, race frequency, shoeing, harness, bits and reproductive techniques amongst other topics. Therefore, as organisations, owners and trainers we have to be mindful that animal sports are high on the agenda with activists and we must remain accountable for our actions. We took a wealth of shared information away from the Conference that will benefit us going forward. It also highlighted items that need to be addressed, such as the upcoming changes in DNA testing worldwide. STAGBI are already in conversation with the testing laboratory and will keep breeders informed of changes to come.
Moving on to the racing season, our British Championship Series proved to be another success with races for 3 and 4 year olds taking place in Scotland, England and Wales. Congratulations to our winners, Toreador, Oakwood Destiny, I Shot the Sheriff, Rhyds Dude, Forafewpearlsmore and Followthestars. We sincerely hope this series will continue to grow and we appreciate your contribution as members, in purchasing annual £100 tickets for the British Championship Supporters Club. Along with the £4500 for the monthly draw the supporters club ticket’s generate £10,000 (which is then matched by STAGBI) for the British Championship Races.
Our STAGBI Future Broodmares Series is now well established as a season highlight. Over the 2023 season six qualifying races were contested and horses accumulated points to gain a place in our Golden Girls Final which was held at York on the 7th October. There were some notable performances with seven mares finishing in 2.1.0 and faster. Our winner, for the second time, was Newtown Jody who was a given a great race by Julian Price’s mare Rhyds Roulette. Congratulations to all!!!
This year STAGBI also supported the new national Mares Series “Queen of the Turf” introduced by Wales and West. Again the series comprised of six races around the UK with the Final held at Aberystwyth. Victory was taken by Brywins Mybeach who had travelled the distance from Scotland. A huge congratulations to all connections and look forward to this series thriving in the future.
Finally, I cannot finish without mentioning the success of our young resident Stallions in 2023 whose progeny have been dominant in this year’s Stakes races. It has been particularly nice to see success with homebred’s, such as Onefortheroad winning the VDM Colts and Hamish Muirhead’s Moneyhill taking the outright British 2 year old record in 1.58.6! Not only did Hamish breed the colt but also his dam Racezapan, what a fantastic achievement and inspiration to all of us breeding and racing.
On behalf of us all at STAGBI we wish all our members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
President (2021 -2023)