01/09/2007 1:00AM

British call for new foal rule


British breeding officials on Tuesday called for an end to the Northern Hemisphere rule whereby Thoroughbreds born prematurely a few days before Jan. 1 must be considered yearlings come New Year's Day.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association in London, the association's chairman, Philip Freedman, and its new president, Michael Goodbody, castigated the current rule whereby a foal born on Dec. 31 or earlier must be registered as a yearling. Both were careful to note, however, that exceptions should be made only in the cases of foals born to mares covered after the start of the official Northern Hemisphere breeding season on Feb. 15.

"It is a nonsense that premature foals covered after the start of the covering season are discriminated against in this way," said Freedman. Calling the current rule "ridiculous," Goodbody said the rule is "outdated and must be brought to the attention of the Northern Hemisphere authorities to alter."