Mental health study looking into trainers’ needs

In the recent NTF newsletter we referred to a workshop on mental health being organised by the BHA and facilitated by Mind. We were very pleased to participate and it was interesting that the crucial role trainers play as employers was acknowledged.

One of our aims at the workshop was to make sure the needs of trainers are not forgotten in the strategy for mental health support in racing. To that end, we are liaising with Will McConn, who is conducting the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) 12-month study on mental health. Our plan is for Will to contact trainers for informal conversations so he can learn more about the aspects of mental health that affect trainer.

The study’s aims are:

a) assess the current mental health needs of the horseracing industry workforce;

b) identify appropriate support mechanisms and

c) make recommendations around the delivery of holistic support.

The focus is on the front line, equine facing, people such as stable employees, jockeys, trainers, etc. Data is being collected through interviews (April-May), focus groups around the country (May-Oct), and also via an electronic questionnaire (Oct – Jan 2019).  The aim is to get a sense of the breadth and depth of mental health challenges. If you are interested in participating in this research, please contact Rupert Arnold or Will McConn on or 07501 9500 10

Grand National Course Walk highly recommended for jockeys

The Jockey Course Walk initiative, introduced at Aintree in 2017, will be rolled out again at this year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival. The Jockey Course Walks proved highly popular last year, particularly among jockeys with little or no experience over the Grand National fences.

Thursday’s walk on April 12 will be conducted by former top jockey Brian Harding, with the Friday (April 13) and Saturday (April 14) walks led by dual Grand National winning jockey Carl Llewellyn. The walks will leave the weighing room at 10.30am each day. Jockeys should contact Brian Harding for the one on Thursday and Carl Llewellyn for the ones on Friday and Saturday.

Aintree Racecourse, the Professional Jockeys Association and the Amateur Jockeys Association urge every first and second-time rider over the Grand National fences, plus any others, to join one of the walks. All riders are equally welcome.

Aintree’s Clerk of the Course, Andrew Tulloch, explained: “This is a practice we want to encourage year on year and we are writing to individual jockeys to urge them to join one of the walks. This applies also to amateur riders competing in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase on Grand National Thursday. We are delighted to have two such experienced riders as Brian and Carl to lead the walks.”

Harry Cobden, victorious in last year’s Randox Health Topham Chase on Ultragold on his first ride over the Grand National fences, remarked: “Aintree trialled the course walks with a jockey coach at the Randox Health Grand National Festival last year and I thought it was a great idea, so I walked the course with Carl Llewellyn on the Friday ahead of the Topham Chase that afternoon. I won the Topham on Ultragold and Carl’s advice and insight proved invaluable, so much so I walked the course with him again the next day before the Randox Health Grand National! Whilst luck wasn’t repeated, I did complete the course on Just A Par and I couldn’t recommend this initiative enough.”

NTF statement on publication of trainers’ non runner rates


4 April 2018 – For immediate release


Having provided input to the consultation, the NTF was satisfied the British Horseracing Authority’s new regulations on non-runners were a balanced package when announced last summer.

We would much rather 13 trainers had avoided being stopped from using self-certificates for 12 months and we note that they are all Flat trainers. We suspect the method of calculation has given jump trainers more opportunity to manage their percentage because they have been in full operation for most of the relevant period. Flat trainers with few All Weather runners over the winter have not benefited to the same degree.

Injuries and going changes make non-runners a fact of life when training racehorses; 48-hour declarations magnify their effect on the flat. It’s in the interests of British racing to minimise non runners and we believe over time, the new regulations will bring the rate of non runners down further.


The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail:

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to


Grand National schooling fences ready from Monday April 2

Special Grand National schooling fences, located at four venues in Britain and Ireland, will be available for use from tomorrow, Monday, April 2.

The fences are for any trainer to school horses entered in the three races run over the Grand National fences at the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree – the £1-million Randox Health Grand National (Saturday, April 14), the £140,000 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Friday, April 13) and the £45,000 Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase (Thursday, April 12).

The schooling fences have been prepared by Aintree’s groundstaff and are situated at David Pipe’s yard on the Devon/Somerset border, at The Jockey Club’s Lambourn Gallops, at the Malton Schooling Grounds and at the Curragh Training Grounds in Ireland.

GN schooling fence Lambourn 1.4.18

Aintree Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch commented: “With just under two weeks to go until the Randox Health Grand National Festival, we are pleased to once again offer Aintree-style schooling fences at four different venues across Britain and Ireland.

“The schooling fences have proved useful for trainers preparing horses for any of the three races over the Grand National fences at the Randox Health Grand National Festival.

“I would like to thank everyone involved at the four venues for their help, which enables Aintree to offer this very valuable facility.”

The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival takes place at Aintree Racecourse from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14.

For further information please contact:

Grant Rowley, Regional Communications Manager, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07884 655990 email:


Nigel Payne, Press Officer for Aintree for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National, on 07768 025265 email:

General Data Protection Regulations advice for trainers on our website

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force on 25th May 2018 require all businesses to look at how they use and protect the personal data of individuals, and put in place new systems and processes.   As the next part of our series of advice to help you get ready for GDPR, we have prepared a “steps to take” information sheet and guidance upon identifying the lawful basis for processing your employee’s personal data.  These- along with our other advice upon GDPR and links to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance documents – can be found in the dedicated area of our website or via the large link on the home page.

More information and template documents will be issued by the NTF over the coming weeks to help you with GDPR and a template data protection policy will be available on the website.  Members should look out for our weekly email and MUSE updates on this subject.

RIABS contributions to rise from 1st April 2018

A small increase in the weekly contributions to the Racing Industry Accident Benefit Scheme (RIABS) has been necessary due to the rising cost of claims.

At the RIABS trustees’ meeting held on 20th March, advisers Bluefin showed the effect of an upward trend in claim costs although the number of claims is not rising despite an increase of 3% in the number of “members” of the scheme, i.e. paid stable employees. Other factors driving the need for a contribution increase are wage growth and loss adjuster costs.

The trustees have agreed to lift the contributions by 25p per week from both employer and employee from the 1st April 2018.  The weekly employee contribution will therefore be £2.62 (from £2.37) per employee registered as paid.

The annual employer contribution will also now be £2.62 (from £2.37.) This amounts to £136.24 per annum per employee registered as paid at 1st April 2018.

The NTF and NARS believe this is a small price to pay for a scheme which delivers excellent benefits and value for money. The maximum weekly benefit has also been increased to £400.