British, Irish and Japanese horse racing regulators have come together to form the Joint Cooperation Committee.

The deal will see the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Horse Racing Ireland work with the Japan Racing Association (JRA).

The committee’s goals include promoting Japanese horses and facilitating travel connections between regions. Other goals include raising awareness among the individual sectors, creating a regulatory partnership and the “further internationalization” of horse racing.

The new committee will be chaired by Joe Saumarez Smith, who is also BHA chair.

Commenting on the partnership, he said: “The British and Irish horse racing industry has enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship with the JRA – and the wider Japanese racing industry – for many years.”

“We are pleased to be working with the JRA and are very grateful for their valuable support. This can only lead to greater participation in each other’s races, leading to deeper fan engagement and increased and new revenue.”

British horse racing wants to stem the decline in betting

In 2023, the BHA has made efforts to slow what it calls the decline in betting on British racing.

For the 2024 schedule, the BHA has improved the prize money and quality of races to support the betting aspect.

The BHA has improved the distribution of games on Saturdays while strengthening its Sunday offerings. The BHA expects the schedule changes, combined with increasing the competitiveness and quality of racing, will entice bettors to bet on British horse racing again.

The changes could help improve racing’s finances by around £90 million over five years. However, BHA chief operating officer Richard Wayman warned that not all changes would be “immediately successful”.