Willie Mullins has warned of the massive financial impact that Brexit could have on Irish connections sending horses to race in Britain.
Mullins will become the first Irish trainer to send a horse to race in Britain post-Brexit when Grangee runs at Market Rasen on Saturday.
However, in order for Grangee to run in England a VAT payment of 19% of the value of the horse had to be made to the British Government.
While the charge is refundable in could take months for the money to be returned by HMRC.
Speaking to the Racing Post, Mullins warned that should this policy continue it could have disastrous implications for a meeting like the Cheltenham festival where last year 181 Irish horses ran.
"I'm told we have to pay 19 per cent of her value in VAT and we mightn't get that back for three months so that would be a bit of a worry," he said.
"The sums of money involved in bringing a big team of horses over, let's say to Cheltenham, could be colossal so there has to be a better mechanism in place for Cheltenham."
Jockey Club Racecourses, which owns Cheltenham, are aware of the potentianl impact and told the Racing Post that they are trying to find solutions to what could be a major issue for them this year.
"We are well aware of the current issues of bringing horses into the country from Ireland and are exploring ways to help to minimise the difficulties encountered by Irish owners and trainers," a spokesman said.
"This includes working with the various authorities, including HRI, to seek to resolve financial burdens, including VAT costs."
‘Brexit will be a doddle’ says Willie Mullins Cheltenham’s most successful trainer says racing will manage changes from UK exit Trainer Willie Mullins, the biggest transporter of horses to Cheltenham this year, says he is ’not at all’ worried about the UK’s exit from the EU and the potential impact it might have on the movement of animals. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire. Trainer Willie Mullins, the biggest transporter of horses to Cheltenham this year, says he is ’not at all’ worried about the UK’s exit from the EU and the potential impact it might have on the movement of animals. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire. Simon Carswell in Cheltenham Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 01:00
The racing industry had to deal with issues around travel before the EU and will be able to cope after Brexit, said Willie Mullins, the Irish trainer who yesterday won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the first time.
Red tape around Brexit would bear no comparison with the new UK veterinary protocol for his horses at the jump-racing festival, introduced after February’s equine flu outbreak, Carlow-based Mullins said.
The trainer raised fears last weekend that horses may be forced to miss the festival due to irregularities with their passports or documentation after new procedures were introduced following the outbreak.
“If Brexit ever comes, I’d say Brexit will be a doddle,” he said, by way of comparison.
The trainer, who was the biggest transporter of horses to Cheltenham this year, said he was “not at all” worried about the UK’s exit and the potential impact that it might have on the movement of animals.
“I think we’d just get used to it. Before Brexit, before the EU, we used to have to do all of this,” he said.
Mullins, the Cheltenham Festival’s most winning trainer, broke his Gold Cup hoodoo this week when Al Boum Photo finally landed the Kilkenny man the famous trophy after training the runner-up six times.
Transit of horses A tripartite agreement between Ireland, the UK and France, supported by EU law, permits the transit of horses between the countries without the animals having to be inspected by vets or subject to health checks.
A no-deal exit by the UK could collapse the agreement, leading to checks on horses entering the UK and raising the possibility of delays at ports with the transit of horses.
Mullins expected arrangements to be made to ease the transit of horses, given the value of the equine industry – from breeding, training and racing, to the economy and the number of people it employs
As opposed to .....‘Brexit will be a doddle’ says Willie MullinsCheltenham’s most successful trainer says racing will manage changes from UK exitTrainer Willie Mullins, the biggest transporter of horses to Cheltenham this year, says he is ’no