After another fruitful week for Irish-trained horses at the Cheltenham festival, the British Horseracing Authority is thought to be keen on making things a little bit more difficult for the dominant visitors.
As reported in today's Guardian,
The BHA intends to put pressure on the Irish Turf Club to run the sport in its country on similar lines to those in Britain, with particular reference to the way weights are allotted in handicaps and the way their dope-testing is conducted.
Seemingly holding reservations regarding their Irish counterparts, it was insinuated by the British authority that "that some Irish runners are getting into English races with less weight than they should be carrying."
What could be perceived as yet another form of British protectionism in the wake of 2016's Brexit vote, the uncertain future of horse-racing in Britain is thought to be informing the BHA's fear:
The future funding of British racing is currently a source of enormous anxiety, since so much of it also derives from the betting industry, which is expected to suffer from an imminent cut to betting-shop Fixed Odds Betting Terminals stakes.
With the BHA set to talk to the Irish Turf Club in the coming months about their concerns for Irish protocol compared to the British alternative, there has been some murmurings about the changes the BHA will look to enact if left unsatisfied:
If they are not satisfied with the response, it was suggested here, Irish-trained horses might not in future be able to rely on the same free access to British racing that they have hitherto enjoyed.
Although any such move would act in direct contradiction to the general mood of British-based trainers who "seem inclined rather to credit their Irish rivals with high levels of skill and enviable levels of investment," it is nonetheless a concern that the Irish Turf Club are sure to take seriously.