New HBLB Veterinary Science Research and Education Awards starting in 2017






The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme for 2017 includes:

  • 3 Major Research Projects
  • 3 Small Research Projects
  • 2 Scholarships  
  • 1 Equine Post Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2 Infectious Disease Programmes

In addition to the allocation approved by HBLB of £1.55m (2016: £1.55m), the Racing Foundation has again decided to inject new funding into veterinary scientific research, providing £227,000 towards the three  major projects beginning this year.

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will continue to manage ongoing projects and educational awards being supported by the Foundation, the TBA and the BEBF. In addition, both the TBA and ROA contribute towards the Equine Infectious Disease Service.

Professor Sandy Love, Chair of the HBLB’s VAC, said:

“Maintaining Racing’s investment in veterinary research and education is absolutely essential for the health and wellbeing of our horses.  In selecting the projects and scholarships to recommend for funding, the HBLB’s VAC has two paramount principles: the chosen work has to be scientifically robust and clearly relevant to the racing, breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds.  The quality of applications was as always highly impressive and the choice was difficult.  The VAC is delighted that, with the support of the Racing Foundation, some very  promising work in a range of key areas will be able to start in 2017.

“Further, we are pleased to announce a new application round, for awards to start in 2018.  Usually this process would begin in February, but the introduction of reforms to the Levy in April 2017 pushed back the launch.  Further information on the new round appears below.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of The Racing Foundation, said:

“This year, the Racing Foundation will be involved with each of the three new major projects. All three are highly relevant to the Thoroughbred.  The objectives include the identification of novel, non-surgical techniques for preventing and/or mitigating breathing problems; the development of a device to evaluate racehorse shoes objectively and effectively, taking into account individual characteristics and the surface to be raced on; and, of vital importance to the breeding industry, investigation of potential new treatments and/or vaccines to counter Rhodococcus Equi.

“The Foundation is very happy to work with the VAC – its expertise, professionalism and breadth of responsibility are greatly valued."

All grant applications are assessed by the HBLB’s VAC and by external experts in accordance with the established procedure before being discussed with the Foundation, the BEBF and TBA.  The VAC benefits too from the advice of the British Horseracing Authority’s Veterinary Committee in selecting projects for funding.

In addition to the projects referenced in the Racing Foundation quotation, examples of the areas being covered by work starting this year are:


  • The impact of hepaciviruses   
  • Injury risk factors in jump racing
  • Alternative treatments for R.Equi and pneumonia in foals
  • New imaging techniques for cardiovascular assessment
  • Causes and differentiation of types of pulmonary haemorrhage
  • Exercise physiology and musculoskeletal development 

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