A hard Brexit could impact freedom of movement for horses, according to key members of the horse-racing industry.
Additionally, should a hardened stance on immigration provoke a reduction in migrant stable staff then world class trainers like Grand National winner Oliver Sherwood may explore retirement.
Many thoroughbreds have made a 12-hour journey from Ireland to England this week in order to take part in the Cheltenham Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the National Hunt calendar.
Current EU directives indicate that horses can cross borders providing they are registered on a database and have an up-to-date EU passport.
When Britain exits the European Union, the free movement of horses will not be secured and red tape may delay the crossing of borders.
My head lad said: ‘does this mean we’ll be kicked out and have to go home?’
For example, demands for a horse to be declared fit by UK customs by a veterinarian could vastly increase journey times.
World renowned trainer Jessica Harrington told Sky Sports: “If we go back to what it was like [before the] EU then you would be hanging around for a vet to clear you to get on the boat.”
Harrington explained that those with livestock were often seen last, meaning journeys could be unnecessarily prolonged.
Oliver Sherwood, who famously trained Many Clouds to the 2015 Grand National title, told Sky News that Brexit and a tougher stance on immigration could be disastrous for stables like his.
“The first thing my head lad said to me the morning after [the] Brexit [vote] was ‘does that mean we will be kicked out and have to go back home’?”
Sherwood also said he could retire from the sport if Brexit does negatively impact his business: “I [would] pack up,” he added.
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