British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has extended Joe Saumarez Smith’s Chairmanship until 31 May 2025.
It will be a three year term for SaumarezSmith, who was elected Chair in November 2023 after replacing Annamarie Pephelps in June 2022.
The BHA’s Nominations Committee recommended that he be extended his contract. The Board of the sport governing body ‘unanimously supported’ this recommendation.
Smith commented: “I am delighted and honored to have been asked by our shareholders for a prolongation of my term. Looking forward to working together with racing’s stakeholders to address the numerous issues that face the sport, particularly those relating to long-term strategic directions. Together we will achieve great results .”
The Chair’s term was extended by the BHA members, who approved an amendment in the Articles of the authority, which allowed for the new office term.
The BHA gave Smith’s extension as Chair because of his leadership role in restructuring sports governance and the launch of an industry strategy. He was also partnered with Chief Executive Julie Harrington.
The BHA’s strategy was launched in June, after Smith assumed Chair duties. It examines many areas including the prize money program, people welfare, data collection and usage, owner experience, breeding integrity, customer engagement and domestic racing marketing.
This strategy is part of a cross-sport effort among the Racecourse Association, Thoroughbred Group and the BHA. The latter takes on the responsibility of coordinating for all racing stakeholders.
Harrington said, “I’m delighted Joe has been elected Chair.” We have achieved great results together, resolving sport’s governance structures and initiating work towards an industry strategy.
We need stability now to plan and execute the strategy. We will use the benefits of the new governance structure, which can bring about substantial change in the sport.
Smith spoke with Racing TV in September about a variety of issues that affect modern racing. Smith also touched upon the Gambling Act Review White Paper at the conclusion of the interview.
He stated that he would love to see the policy published as quickly as possible. This is a good opportunity to have a discussion on the policies and protections for people with problem gambling disorder.
We can’t ignore it, and that white paper would make it much easier for us to lobby and promote the positive aspects and the support those we like.
Smith is not unfamiliar with the gambling sector, but that’s because horse racing is an intrinsically connected sport to it.
He is also a businessman and the founder and CEO of Sports Gaming Ltd., a consulting firm for gambling.
Smith stated that he supports racing as a responsible and sustainable betting product but does not dismiss the possibility of it being addictive.
He stated that although it was a less addictive product and customers interact with it differently, it can still be addicting to horse racing betting. Nick Luck