Professor Celia Marr appointed Chair of Veterinary Advisory Committee

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has appointed Professor Celia Marr as Chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee.

A specialist in equine internal medicine and cardiology, Celia Marr is best known in racing circles for having assisted in the treatment of both Sprinter Sacre and Denman, two of the best steeplechasers this century. The appointment as Chair of the Committee is for two years, commencing in January 2015 when she succeeds Professor Willie Donachie, who is retiring at the end of 2014.

Earlier this year, Celia was called on to help treat Sprinter Sacre after the horse had been diagnosed with a fibrillating heart following his seasonal re-appearance at Kempton Park last December. Previously, she had also treated former Gold Cup winner, Denman, following his diagnosis with a similar condition. Denman subsequently returned to the racecourse and was three times runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Most recently Celia has been treating highly-rated Godolphin colt Be Ready, who was found to have an atrial fibrillation following a disappointing run in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

The Veterinary Advisory Committee makes recommendations as to where the Levy Board's investment in veterinary research and education should be spent.

Celia Marr said of her appointment:

"I am delighted to have been appointed Chair. The Committee has a key role to play in allocating Racing's investment in veterinary research. Since 2000, British Racing, via the Levy Board, has invested over £25m in veterinary projects and education. This investment bring benefits for the entire population of horses in Britain.

"There is a lot of exciting work going on currently with new ideas coming forward all the time but I also aim to focus on communicating the practical benefits that arise from the research, the fundamental aim of which remains to prevent and manage injury and disease in all types of horses.” 

The Chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, Paul Lee, said:

“We are fortunate that someone of Professor Marr’s reputation and expertise is willing to commit time and energy to the work of the Committee. Celia brings both academic and clinical experience to the role, and a dedication to the health and wellbeing of the racing and breeding Thoroughbred.

“Willie Donachie has done a terrific job, steering the Committee through difficult times when funding was limited and we are grateful for his commitment.”

Celia is an accomplished equine specialist and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience as Chair of the Veterinary Advisory Committee. Celia is an Honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow, Editor-in-Chief of Equine Veterinary Journal, and in addition to her work with the Veterinary Advisory Committee of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, which she joined in 2005, she has also served on various committees for the European College of Equine Internal Medicine.

Celia’s clinical career has focused on Cardiovascular Medicine, Internal Medicine, Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care & Medical Imaging, and she has held clinical service and teaching positions in the University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge and the Royal Veterinary College. She has also spent considerable time in Thoroughbred practice both at the Valley Equine Hospital, Lambourn and at Rossdale and Partners, Newmarket.

Celia has published over 60 research papers and educational material relating to a range of medical disorders of the horse, concentrating on cardiovascular disease and diagnostic methods in medical disorders.

Celia Marr added:

“I am very much looking forward to taking over as Chair of the Committee in January. I want to ensure that the Levy Board’s investment in veterinary science and education continues to address the real, practical needs of the Thoroughbred.”