Jockey licensing and training to be enhanced from 1st April

The BHA has announced a significant overhaul to the jockey licensing and training process, with changes taking place from 1st April 2017. The new approach is designed to produce an enhanced training and development strategy through the jockey licensing framework and is the result of more than three years of work following the establishment of a BHA and stakeholder review group in 2014.

The aim of these changes is to better equip jockeys with the necessary technical skills as they progress through the early stages of their career and to meet their personal development needs. The enhancements are also designed to address the present situation in which racing is spending considerable resource training individuals who may not be successful. Too many jockeys also mean reduced opportunities for riders who might make the grade. Currently 30 per cent of licensing course attendees do not ride a winner and 88 per cent do not ride out their claim.

The 2014 review concluded that more rigorous entry criteria should be agreed for aspiring jockeys and that the number of training places be restricted, in order to ensure that the most suitable applicants entered the process on a consistent basis. As a result, all prospective applicants will have to pass a pre-licence assessment before being considered for a place on the main apprentice/conditional course.

The existing apprentice/conditional licence courses will also be extended from five to ten days to provide attendees with detailed training on the wide variety of skills required to be a professional jockey. The BHA acknowledges that the longer licensing course will have an impact on the day-to-day running of some yards although this should be viewed against the overall benefit to the sport of having better, more successful, healthier jockeys.

To some extent, the impact of a longer licensing course will be offset by the reduction in length of the continuation and advanced training offered to selected jockeys. This was five days but will be reduced to a single annual training day delivered regionally alongside the Jockey Coaching Programme.

The NTF participated in the early stages of the consultation and development of the new arrangements. We believe the objective of increasing professionalism is sound and the pre-assessment should overcome problems there have been with aspiring jockeys expecting to be put forward for a licence before they are ready.

Offers of work experience key feature of recruitment strategy

The recruitment strategy agreed by industry stakeholders regards the provision of work experience as a crucial element in attracting young people into a career in racing. The NTF strongly supports this approach but we know that many trainers are wary of allowing very inexperienced people on to their yard.

We have produced a helpful guide to work experience and you can access it on our website under Information/More Employment Information. Go first to the link “Work Experience”, which will help you understand all the points to consider.

Work experience is open to students in their last two years of compulsory schooling or students taking post 16 courses as a study placement. It is unpaid, although employers can assist with travel costs and meals. Emphasis is on the learning aspect of the experience. It may be a block of work experience, say a week or two weeks, or an extended work placement over a period of weeks for a study placement.

A clear agreement should be in place between the employer, school (or local education authority) and parents. If you are in any doubt as to the status of the placement, then it is important that you check with the school or local education authority. This is particularly important if the person is aged 16 – 19 as, if they are not on a course which allows them to undertake work experience, their status may be a worker and therefore entitled to the National Minimum Wage and other employment rights.

The other links in this section on our website are to an induction template and, very importantly, a safeguarding policy. This is essential guidance on the legal obligation to protect young people and vulnerable people.

To reassure you on the health and safety implications, check out the Health and Safety Executive’s Cutting Through the Bureaucracy web page. The employers’ page explains that in relation to health and safety, you treat work placements no differently to other young people you employ and your existing liability insurance should cover you.

If you need more advice, contact Dawn Bacchus at the NTF office. Also, we are keen to build up a list of trainers who are willing to provide work experience; if you are, please contact Shelley Perham at

Appealing business rates on gallops

On 7th March the NTF publicised Philip Hobbs’ successful appeal against a decision of the Valuation Tribunal. The appeal was a test case and support from the NTF had contributed to establishing a vital point of principle about the valuation of All-Weather gallops at racing stables outside the main training centres. It will lead to significant annual savings for many trainers and the possibility of rebates for some.  The effect of the decision:

  1. The current 2010 Rateable Values (RV) for yards with their own all weather gallops should be reduced in the majority of cases, in proportion to the value of the stables, so those in more rural areas will benefit most.
  1. With reduced RV some smaller yards may drop into the threshold for Small Business Rate relief (currently £12000 RV).
  1. The 2017 RV for yards with All-Weather gallops should be reduced by the Valuation Office but if not, the decision will be a precedent for appeals.
  1. The decision to agree with regional variations in value will help negotiations on the values for equine pools, covered rides and other ancillary items.

To benefit from a reduction in RV on the 2010 rating list, an appeal should be made within six months of the date of the Upper Tribunal decision, which was 27th February. We have been told that any rebate can only be backdated to April 2015.

For advice about lodging an appeal, you should contact Christopher Marriott, the NTF’s specialist adviser, at Marriott’s Property LLP, T: 01367 242422, email:

Point to Point Authority seeking a new independent Board member / Chairman

The PPA are looking to recruit an independent Board Member/Chairman. The position has recently become vacant and the aim is to appoint by Summer 2017. Nick Sutton has agreed to act as Chairman until this role is successfully filled. This is an opportunity to join a knowledgeable and creative team working to develop a ‘grass roots’ sport that is a sustainable and vibrant part of horseracing for the next decade. The current make-up of the Board is:

Nick Sutton                     Chairman – Independent Nominee

Richard Russell               Jockey Club Nominee

Steven Howlett             Chairman, PPSA

Robert Killen                   Chairman, PPORA

Alan Hill                             MFHA

Jeremy Barber               Independent Nominee

Clare Hazell                     Chief Executive

Interested applicants must be nominated and seconded by individuals who are keen supporters of horseracing. The nominators will be required to supply their name, contact details and outline their involvement in racing.  The position as Independent/Chairman will be non-executive but expenses will be reimbursed.

We are looking for a candidate who has the following credentials: 

  • A deep knowledge of Pointing and Racing
  • A passion for the sport
  • Ability to connect and be respected by the grass roots participants/organisers and with the regulatory bodies in racing (BHA/HBLB-Racing Authority/The Jockey Club etc)
  • An understanding of business and the ability to grasp the financial and political issues within the sport (HBLB-Racing Authority/BHA etc)
  • Who can work closely and effectively with The PPA Chief Executive & Team
  • Some vision of the future to ensure the sport progresses and is sustainable
  • Is prepared to commit sufficient time and do this for modest compensation/expenses

Candidates will need to submit a brief CV, details of their interest in Point-to-Pointing and an summary of not more than 150 words about the knowledge and experience they would bring as Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority (PPA).

Application forms can be obtained by contacting Clare Hazell ( and must be submitted by Friday 22nd April.  Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed formally by members of the Board on Thursday 4 May, or other suitable date, at the BHA Head Office in London, 75 High Holborn.


Racing MBA changing format to make participation easier

The University of Liverpool Management School is modifying the degree programme that would introduce blended learning (some online modules) which may help micro-enterprises free up their key people to study the MBA. Realistically this is an exercise that will take 18-24 months to implement, but it has been recognised that the current programme creates challenges with attendance for certain parts of the industry.

The University has asked the NTF to make our members aware that it is recruiting for the 2017 two-year part-time intake that starts early in October.  If trainers or their assistants are interested see the link below to the University’s home page for the programme. Clicking on the link below this article takes you to the latest brochure for the MBA; the back cover illustrates the organisations that have students on the programme in the first two years, whilst Emma Marley’s recent appointment at the BHA provides our first case-study. There was some excellent coverage of the MBA in a recent BBC news report online here.




Equine welfare messages from The Horse Comes First

One of the original objectives of the Horse Comes First campaign was to make advocates of our participants. Trainers who are questioned about equine welfare in the coming weeks might find it useful to be able to speak with confidence about some of British racing’s messages on this subject.

British racing has a track record to be proud of when it comes to equine welfare.
The industry is united in its commitment to the health and welfare of its equine stars and together we run The Horse Comes First campaign to raise awareness of the high welfare standards that exist within our sport.

Below you will find links to documents which you may find useful over the coming weeks –

  • The first document outlines our key welfare messages, which will be helpful should you have an opportunity to promote the sport’s welfare standards and track record.
  • The second document contains a series of infographics which can be posted or shared on social media to spread the word about the high standards of care within British racing.