Randox Health Grand National Schooling Fences

Special Grand National schooling fences, located at four venues in Britain and Ireland, are available to use from Tuesday 19th March.

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 Randox Health Grand National (Saturday, April 6), the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Friday, April 5) and the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase (Thursday, April 4).

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.

The 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival takes place at Aintree Racecourse from Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 6.

Horse Racing Ireland Equine Flu Vaccination Requirements

From 16th March 2019 it will be a standard requirement that all horses running in Ireland must have been vaccinated on or after 18th January 2019 with a vaccine representing Clade 1. Horses vaccinated with the appropriate vaccination on or after 18th January 2019, will not be required to receive a further emergency booster vaccination.

In accordance with the Rules, horses are not qualified to run if they have received a vaccination within the previous 7 days – 6 clear days must elapse between date of vaccination and date of race (e.g., a horse vaccinated on a Friday can run the following Friday). IHRB Veterinary Officers and Assistants will continue to carry out veterinary inspections with increased scrutiny at entrances to racecourse stables on all horses – Trainers and Handlers are advised that if any horse shows any sign of respiratory disease, they will not be allowed to enter racecourse stables or race.

Further information can be found


Age-related handicapping – BHA Notice

As recommended by the Handicapping Review published in October 2018, a new age-based penalty structure will come into force for the 2019 Flat turf season. The first races with this structure will be published in the Racing Calendar on Thursday 28 February.

The 2018 handicapping review initially recommended that a system of giving penalties for handicap winners on a discretionary basis should be introduced to ensure that neither horses carrying penalties nor their opponents were disadvantaged in the short term.

However following consideration of the practical implications of such an approach as well as feedback from stakeholders, it was decided that a more nuanced penalty structure for winners based on age should be employed instead.

As such, penalties for handicap winners aged two and three will be 6 lb, those aged four to six will be 5 lb and those aged seven above will be 4lb. This approach was developed following detailed data analysis including the average ratings rise of horses winning handicaps and was approved by the industry’s Racing Group.

This structure will apply to Flat handicap races from the start of the Flat turf season in 2019. More information on the handicapping review can be found here.

Statement from Ralph Beckett on agreement with ARC

On Saturday evening, the NTF sent members an email confirming terms agreed with ARC for the restoration of prize money in middle and lower tier races. As the deal had the backing of the NTF Council and other leading trainers, we believed the agreement would allow trainers to be comfortable about making entries and declarations in races at ARC racecourses.

To provide more clarity today, Ralph Beckett, a member of the NTF’s Presidential Triumvirate, has issued this statement:

“As horsemen and women, we are very disappointed for the general public that they will not get the show they deserve in the coming days at ARC tracks. We are pleased that owners initiated the widespread decision by so many individuals to demonstrate to ARC that the livelihoods of many trainers, their staff, and jockeys depend on reasonable prize money levels. It is encouraging that it has been taken seriously, and we hope that we will not have to resort to such extreme measures in future. We look forward to constructive negotiations in the coming days and weeks, and hope that ARC and the RCA will now be open and transparent, so that together we can help secure the future of British Racing with a funding model that works for all.”


Statement from the NTF and ARC, Saturday 2nd March

Arena Racing Company (ARC) and the National Trainers Federation (NTF) are pleased to announce that to allow further constructive discussions between the two parties, ARC will commit to unlock all eligible races for March.  ARC can confirm that the cost of this unlocking will not be taken from elsewhere within ARC’s race programme, but the NTF are content that the sum be reduced to reflect the estimated £55,000 impact of unsupported races at Lingfield and Sedgefield.

ARC Chief Executive Martin Cruddace commented, “We are pleased to continue constructive dialogue with the NTF.  The racing industry has wider issues to address beyond this specific prize money debate, and we clearly have bridges to build.  As such we are delighted that negotiations will begin on Tuesday.  We are grateful to Nick Rust and his team at the BHA for assisting in brokering this moratorium, which will allow the time for these further talks to take place.”

NTF President Ann Duffield said, “We are pleased that we have been able to reach this position with ARC and have welcomed the spirit of the negotiations. We look forward to continuing further positive talks early next week.”

NTF statement on latest talks about prize money reductions

Following its Annual General Meeting today, the National Trainers Federation (NTF) is clarifying its position following the statements issued by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Arena Racing Company (ARC) this morning.

Trainers have informed the NTF that they do not support the terms of the agreement reached last night to restore prize money levels. In their opinion, funding for Class 4, 5 and 6 races should not be sourced from other parts of the race programme.

We have been told that trainers and owners will continue to make their own choices with regard to upcoming ARC fixtures.


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

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

Declarations process for Thursday 14 Feb & important info re overnight/early racecourse arrivals

Please see the BHA notices below in relation to:

– The declarations process for fixtures on Thursday 14 February.

– Requirements in relation to horses requiring overnight racecourse stabling, or which will arrive at the racecourse more than 4 hours prior to the first race. These requirements will apply to fixtures on Thursday 14 February and will continue until further notice.


Declarations for  races scheduled for Thursday 14 February should be made by 10am on Wednesday 13 February. Please be aware that we are following the same process and timetable as was used on Tuesday 12 February, so therefore we will retain the adaptations made in relation to  declarations for Thursday:

  • The trial of transparent declarations in place for Flat races will be suspended for Thursday’s fixture but the number of declarations in each race can still be viewed on NRAS.
  • No races to be staged on Thursday 14 February will be re-offered.
  • List of provisional declarations will not be posted and the official release of declarations for Thursday’s racing is expected to be at 1.30pm.
  • Jockey bookings for Thursday will be accepted until 2.15pm on Wednesday 14 February

Once we have been able to complete the analysis and processing of test samples we will return to normal racing administration activity.


Trainers declaring horses for any races on Thursday 14 February and for all races after that date and until further notice, should be advised of the following requirements for “overnighters” (horses arriving at the racecourse on the day(s) prior to raceday and which require overnight racecourse stabling accommodation), or any horses arriving more than 4 hours prior to the FIRST race.

In line with the new equine influenza requirements, we need to check the vaccination status of all horses before they can be unloaded. For overnighters and early arrivals, the process is slightly different. If you have a horse going to the racecourse overnight or arriving more than 4 hours before the first race, you must first email a copy of the following documents to: overnighters@britishhorseracing.com

The trainer of, or Responsible Person for, overnighters and early arrivals must submit this documentation prior to arrival. It needs to be checked in advance, as horses cannot be unloaded or permitted entry to the stables until this process has been completed.