The Irish Harness Racing Association Ltd was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in May 2015 following approval from the three existing Clubs and the nomination of 6 Directors, there are no shareholders in this company and it is effectively owned by the members at any given point. There were a number of compelling reasons to change the structure to a Limited Company formation which had been discussed on numerous occasions over the past ten years or more and these include Government funding and Stud Book approval.
In late 2015 the IHRA were approved by the Department of Agriculture as the Passport issuing authority to operate the Stud Books for the Standardbred breed both Trotter & Pacer in Ireland.
This was the first official recognition of the Standardbred breed in Ireland as none of the Irish horses that currently hold STAGBI passports are recorded in Ireland’s National Equine Database which is now a requirement under law as is equine premises registration and the recording of transfer of ownership.
To rectify this inequity it became a prerequisite for the Irish Harness Racing Association to develop its own Stud Book as part of the process of developing the harness racing sector in Ireland to an International standard.
The IHRA entered into a working agreement with STAGBI in January 2016 to facilitate a smooth transition from the previous arrangement whereby STAGBI issued the passports for horses born in both Ireland and Great Britain. It is expressly agreed between both parties in this agreement that each country would issue the passports for all horses born in their respective countries from January 2016 forward. Any deviation from this policy would compromise the integrity of the Stud Book data for both organisations and would not be in line with best practice among International Trotting Associations.
This matter has been clarified by the UET in recent days, it is a matter for the Racing Authorities of each jurisdiction to decide that the horses born in each country are entered in a Stud Book recognised by the competent authority in each jurisdiction, in Ireland’s case the IHRA is both the racing authority and competent authority for Passport issuing.
In 2016 funding of approximately €20,000 has been approved by the Department of Agriculture to the IHRA for a number of specific projects related to our Stud Book with the first payment having been received this week, the future funding for other such projects will be an ongoing matter with the benefits accruing to the development of the harness racing sector for the whole of Ireland.
To date approximately 50 of the new Irish passports have been produced, the process whilst getting off to a slow start with a number of delays due to a variety of factors many of which were outside the direct control of the IHRA the situation is now much improved.
We would like to remind owners of horses to be registered that it is imperative to have the dam of the progeny is transferred from the STAGBI Stud Book in the first instance, failure in this regard is the current primary cause of delays producing passports and also the historic non compliance with the transfer of ownership process in another contributory factor.
All standardbred Stallions standing at Stud in Ireland are also required to be transferred from the STAGBI Stud Book as are the existing racing stock of horses.
The IHRA will issue covering certificates for the 2016 season subject to the mares in question already having a DNA profile on record or alternatively furnishing a new hair sample for DNA analysis, the objective here is to speed up the process of registration in 2017 when foal applications are submitted and also to avoid registration issues caused by the death of a mare at the point of foaling.
We would further like to advise owners that under no circumstance will any application that is sent directly to Horse Sport Ireland be processed, all applications must be sent to the IHRA Office in the first instance for verification and preparation of additional data that is required as per the terms of the IHRA / HSI processing agreement.