Novice chase recommendations welcomed

Four current or recent members of the NTF’s National Hunt Committee were part of a working group that has made recommendations announced today on the Novice Chase system.

A detailed data analysis was carried out, supported by a questionnaire for Jump trainers and the exploration of a variety of proposals. Thanks to all trainers who responded to the questions. It is essential for the future health of the sport that the race programme provides incentives for trainers and owners to send horses of all abilities Chasing.

The recommendations, which were approved by the sport’s cross-industry Racing Group and the BHA Board and will be implemented from 1 October 2017, are as follows:

  • No handicap rating increase in weight-for-age Novices’ Chases of Class 2 and below other than for the winner. This will only apply to horses that have already run four times over obstacles (either hurdles or fences.)

    The working party felt that perception can be as important as reality and to encourage more horses to run in weight-for-age Novices’ Chases, trainers’ preconceptions of the handicappers’ reaction needs to be addressed. This has been shown to be effective in flat conditions races.

  • An increase in the number of weight-for-age Novices’ Chases, to be balanced by a decrease in number of Novices’ handicap Chases. A maximum increase of 25% on the current programme of 200 weight-for-age Chases was proposed
  • Programming of six ‘confined’ races during the autumn for horses which have not won more than one race over hurdles. This proposal is aimed at providing a pathway for the later-maturing type destined for Chasing.

Analysis of the horse population revealed a pool of 948 horses went chasing who       would have fulfilled these criteria in 2016/17

  • Rating band for the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival to be increased to 0-145 (from 0-140).

    This race has become a key seasonal target for many Novice Chasers, resulting in the cut off for elimination this year being 137. Increasing the banding to 0-145 was considered a more sensible cut off for the handicap and key to the success of the new system, with horses rated 146 and above capable of holding their own in Graded company.

  • Valuable Novices’ Handicap Chase Series Final to be programmed in the spring. Racecourses to be given the opportunity to apply to stage the £100,000 Final, which will be supported by the BHA Development Fund. Horses must run in at least two weight-for-age Novices’ or Beginners’ Chase during the season in order to enter the Final.

Trainers involved directly on the working group were Nick Alexander, Philip Hobbs, Emma Lavelle and Dan Skelton.

£9.7m boost for grass roots as 2018 Fixture List is published

Alongside the publication of the 2018 Fixture List today, the BHA, with the support of the RCA and Horsemen’s Group has announced a package of proposals to invest additional Levy income with the aim of delivering three key objectives for the sport – supporting ownership, delivering more competitive and compelling racing, and increasing customer engagement, which will in turn help grow the sport’s future revenues. Along with other horsemen representatives, the NTF was involved in the protracted and complex discussions to agree these measures.

Central to the proposals is an estimated boost of £9.7 million of additional Levy funding targeted at mid and lower-tier racing through increases to prize money funding supported by a new appearance money scheme and race incentive fund. These schemes will improve returns to horsemen and also aim to increase field sizes at Class 3 and below over jumps and Class 4 and below on the flat. As a consequence, most races in Britain (with a small number of exceptions depending on race type) will now be run with a total race value of at least £6,000 from 2018.

Racecourses will be given the opportunity to invest their own revenues to unlock the extra prize money funding and appearance money,which would see qualifying races introduce payments of at least £300 for horses finishing between fifth and eighth place. As a result the overall boost to returns to horsemen at grass roots level will be significantly greater than the extra money invested via the Levy, with an estimated total boost of more than £11m to prize money.

In addition, an existing £6m race incentive fund will continue to incentivise the programming of races at Class 1 to 3, with a £500,000 Development Fund continuing to be used to support longer term strategic initiatives to enhance the breed, alongside £1m of new funding collected through an auction of BHA Fixtures.

Class 6 race example

It is also the intention that the Plus 10 Bonus Scheme will receive a boost in 2018 with around £300,000 of revenue being invested to support returns to three-year-old staying horses, aligning the scheme with the broader, industry objective to encourage the breeding and racing of stayers.

The proposals are subject to the availability of forecast levy funding and the approval of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB). They are based on anticipated minimum Levy spend on prize money of £57.4m in 2018, which represents a growth of £8.05m from 2017. Prize money spending efficiencies, including race divisions being funded by the racecourses, will allow for the £9.7m investment in grassroots.

Other headlines include:

  • Earliest Fixture List publication since 2009
  • Introduction of a week-long break after the Bet365 Jump Finale at Sandown, with the new Jump season proper starting on the following Saturday afternoon at Uttoxeter
  • A small number of additional fixtures have been programmed in customer-friendly slots on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons throughout summer with the aim of increasing attendances.
  • Around 20 Monday and Tuesday afternoon fixtures, capable of being staged under floodlights in the winter, will have a later start time as a twilight fixture to support changes to the betting market.
  • At the time of year when the available horse population means that flat eliminations are at their highest, twilight fixtures will be staged on Monday evenings in September and October.
  • With a view to continuing strengthening Sunday racing, an incentive fund will offer support for the staging of a fixture worth at least £70,000

Top line figures from the 2018 Fixture List are:

  • A total of 1,508 fixtures have been scheduled, 11 more than planned in 2017.
  • Ratio of fixtures in 2018 – Jump: 39.7%, Flat Turf 37.7%, All Weather 22.6% (2017: Jump 40.1% : Flat Turf 38.1% : All Weather 21.8%)
  • 910 Flat fixtures scheduled (14 more than in 2017). Of these fixtures, 569 are Flat Turf fixtures (one fewer than 2017) while 341 are All Weather fixtures (15 more than originally scheduled in 2017)
  • 598 Jump fixtures scheduled (three fewer than 2017
  • By betting session, there will be 1,096 afternoon fixtures (19 fewer than 2017) and 412 evening fixtures (30 more than 2017).

Allow more time when declaring foreign jockeys to ride in France

France Galop have contacted the BHA to remind trainers of the timescales involved for booking jockeys when they have runners/rides overseas.

Any Trainer or Jockey who requires a clearance to be sent to France Galop should contact the BHA Licensing Team in good time so that this can be written and sent to France Galop on the day before declarations day, at the latest.

The BHA always encourage Jockeys to pick up a racecourse clearance before riding overseas (this can be picked up from the Clerk of the Scales after their last ride). However, France Galop often require a full clearance which needs to be obtained from BHA Licensing.  Jockeys/Trainers are advised to request this with at least 48 hours’ notice or as soon as they are aware of the proposed ride.

Please be aware the BHA Licensing team are only in the office from Monday to Friday, so Jockeys/Trainers need to factor that in when requesting a clearance.  To contact the BHA Licensing team call 020 7152 0145   and France Galop +33-1-49-10-21-26


“Since March 1, 2017, the French Rules of Racing require that any foreign jockey must be in good order with France Galop at the latest the day before the declarations of mounts (art. 43 § IV) :

jockey etrangersTherefore, in order to accept their rides, we must receive the clearance of their horse racing authority at the latest the day before the declarations of mounts.”




Reminder of New Qualification Rules for Nurseries

The BHA would like to remind trainers that the qualification rules for nursery handicaps were revised prior to this season. As a reminder, the new criteria for a 2yo trained in Britain is that to be eligible for a rating a horse must compete at least 3 times in flat races run in Great Britain and/or Ireland, or a horse must win 2 flat races in either Great Britain and/or Ireland, with at least one of the wins being in Great Britain.

Buying a NH horse for clients at upcoming sales?


Why not buy a NHMOPS horse? A registered horse could earn you, your owner and your yard significant bonuses on top of prize money in qualifying races.

A number of NHMOPS registered horses are on offer at public auction this summer, starting with the Goffs UK Store Sale on Tuesday 23rd May. Tattersalls Ireland are also selling NHMOPS registered lots at their Derby Sale on 28 & 29th June.

Trainers receive a portion of the cash bonus, along with the owner, rider and stable staff. Many trainers have already benefited from NHMOPS prizes in 2017 including; Stuart Crawford, Harry Fry, Warren Greatrex, Nigel Hawke, Anthony Honeyball, Nicky Henderson, Philip Hobbs, Charlie Longsdon, Hughie Morrison and Neil Mulholland.

What is NHMOPS?

The National Hunt Mare Owners’ Prize Scheme (NHMOPS) is an industry scheme to incentivise race mare ownership, where registered horses can earn bonuses for wins in qualifying races.

NHMOPS horses on offer at sales have already been registered to the scheme and there are no further scheme fees to pay. Registered lots will wear NHMOPS hip stickers and carry logos on their catalogues pages.

What are the NHMOPS prizes?

Prizes are split between winning owner (70%), trainer (15%), jockey (10%) and stable staff pool (5%) for wins in qualifying races as per the below chart:

Wins in mares’ only races Prize fund

(8 or more runners)

Prize fund

(less than 8 runners)

Class 1-6 NH Flat Races £5,000 £2,500
Class 1-2 Open Races, Class 1-4 Novice Chases & Hurdles (but not inc. Juvenile, Maiden and Beginners events) £10,000 £5,000

*Terms and conditions apply.

How do I find a qualifying NHMOPS race?

Eligible races carry the logo on the Racing Admin site and in the Racing Calendar.

For more information on NHMOPS please visit the TBA website

NH_MOPS17_EBN_184x60_v4 - TWTR

British EBF a leading investor in prize money for 2017

The British arm of the European Breeders’ Fund has announced a record equalling £1.7million investment into British prize money for 2017.  The organisation, which is funded primarily by subscriptions from British-based stallion owners, will maintain the level of investment seen in 2016, bringing the total contribution by the EBF to British racing to just over £31.5million since its inception in 1983.

The British EBF is charged with the task of re-investing the generously provided income from British-based stallion owners directly in to prize money; in doing so it is one of the leading sponsors of racing in the UK by both number of races and total prize value of the races they support:

Top 10 Sponsors by number of races sponsored (2016)   Top 10 sponsors by prize value (2016)
Totepool 734 9%   QIPCO 36 £10,339,025
32Red 635 8%   Totepool 734 £7,693,497
EBF 630 8%   EBF 630 £7,106,951

Table info reproduced courtesy of Mary-Ann Sandercock (first published in RCA Update, March 2017)

BEBF funding is distributed nation-wide to nearly every racecourse in the British Isles and is guided by a strong set of under-pinning principles to help focus investment where it is needed most. Although the British EBF works with both Jockey Club Racecourses and Arena Racing, nearly half its annual funding is distributed among the independent racecourses.

The 2017 contributions are headlined by the return of the highly successful EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series, which sees a renewed investment of over £300,000. Initially launched in 2016, this programme of 20 races, covering sprint to middle distance contests, is designed to produce valuable handicap opportunities for fillies, aged three years old and up, to race competitively throughout the flat season. The series will culminate in a finals day at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Friday 7th October with each showcase (one each for 6f, 8f, 10f and 12f) carrying an eye-catching prize fund of £50,000.  To further enhance the programme, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association have again offered a bonus worth up to £25,000 to any qualifying filly that wins one of the valuable EBF finals on 7th October.

In line with the British EBF’S remit to support a minimum of 70% of the two-year-old races year on year, the largest proportion of the annual re-investment from stallion owners is in this area of the programme and accounts for 33% of the total BEBF prize money distribution.

Support has again been given to the All-Weather Championships initiative with an investment in qualifying races of nearly £50,000, as part of an overall support of all-weather racing in the UK of £125,000. A further £125,000 will again be allocated to support National Hunt races including the EBF Novice Hurdle Series.

The number of ‘Stayers Maidens’ has also been increased to 10 for 2017.  Restricted to progeny of stallions that won over 10f or more with EBF eligibility, they offer opportunities later in the season for two-year-olds who may be campaigned in staying races later in their careers.  They were created in 2015 in response to a review by the BHA Flat Racing Committee following a noticeable lack of opportunities for staying types and to help meet a goal of further enhancing the stayers programme.

The British EBF has also allocated £60,000 to fund (in conjunction with the TBA and Levy Board) a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University investigating factors leading to the susceptibility of higher worm burdens in the equine population; a vital pre-cursor to developing new systems of guarding against large scale worm infestations on thoroughbred stud farms. Previous research project funding includes: Equine Influenza, Strangles and the Equine Genome Project.

Delay to implementing cap in median auction races

In its press release of 6 February detailing enhancements to the two year old programme, the BHA highlighted that an auction value cap would be applied in median auction races to make horses sold above a certain price ineligible.

In light of complex system development requirements, the decision has been taken to delay the implementation of this element of the package until the beginning of the 2018 flat turf season. In making this decision the BHA also took account of feedback from trainers that it would be helpful to know about these changes ahead of purchasing horses at autumn sales for the following season.