The leading organizations in British Racing today (Dec. 6) launched a national campaign at Sandown Park’s Tingle Creek Christmas Festival to raise awareness of the high standards of equine welfare and care given to racehorses.

"The Horse Comes First" is an industry wide initiative supported by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association, Racehorse Owners Association, Professional Jockey’s Association, National Trainers Federation, and The Jockey Club, promoting the sport’s commitment to the welfare of horses throughout and after their careers in racing.

Speakers at the launch at Sandown Park, in Surrey, England, included Steve Harman, chairman of the BHA; Peter Webbon, DVM, former chief executive of the Animal Health Trust; and Jock Bennett, employee of the year award winner at this year’s Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

“In the five months since I took on the role of chairman of BHA, I have spent a lot of time talking to people whose livelihoods depend on the sport, including breeders, trainers, jockeys, and stable staff," Harman said. "You only need to spend a short time in their company to recognize and understand that everybody in this sport cares passionately about horse welfare. The bond between man and horse is the common thread running through all of the sport’s participants.

“The launch of ‘The Horse Comes First’ campaign is a significant step in raising awareness of the first class care and attention that is given to the 14,000 racehorses in training," he continued. "We are proud to be one of the organizations supporting