Increased weighing out allowance for new jockey’s safety vest

The BHA has announced that, from 1 October 2018, the minimum acceptable standard for a safety vest (body protector) for race riding for jockeys of all disciplines will be increased. As a result, all jockeys will be required to wear the new Level 2 body protectors, rather than the current Level 1 model. (This does not affect the rules for stable staff.)

This change is because the Level 2 vest offers superior protection of up to 50% to the Level 1 vest against direct blows such as kicks. The relevant rule – Schedule (D)2, Equipment PART 1 – has been updated and Rule (B)22 – Weighing out procedure has also been changed to allow an increase of 1lb in the allowance at the scales when weighing out.

Increase in weighing out allowance for new jockey’s safety vest

The BHA has announced that from 1 October 2018 the minimum acceptable standard for a safety vest (body protector) for race riding for jockeys of all disciplines will be increased. As a result, all jockeys will be required to wear the new Level 2 body protectors, rather than the current Level 1 model. (This does not affect stable staff, who must use Level 3 safety vests.)

This change is because the Level 2 vest offers superior protection of up to 50% to the Level 1 vest against direct blows such as kicks. The relevant rule – Schedule (D)2, Equipment PART 1 – has been updated and Rule (B)22 – Weighing out procedure has also been changed to allow an increase of 1lb in the allowance at the scales when weighing out.

The importance of good practice and detailed medication records

If you are unfortunate enough to have a positive ‘dope’ test, that is an automatic breach of the BHA equine anti-doping rules (EADR) as there is strict liability for a positive sample.

What penalty may be imposed depends upon whether the substance was intentionally administered (whether or not by someone connected with you) and whether you as the trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid violating the rule.

The burden of proof is upon the trainer. The steps you take in your yard to avoid contamination and cross contamination will be closely scrutinised by the BHA Disciplinary Panel to help them decide if you have established that it was a) not intentional administration and b) you have met the “all reasonable precautions” test.

What are reasonable precautions will vary from yard to yard – guidance is available on the NTF website.

This area of the website has been updated to include templates policies covering human medication, equine medication and feedstuffs for yards to adapt to suit their own needs.

It is important to show that you

  • have risk assessed your yard
  • put procedures in place
  • have someone to check those procedures are being followed and
  • that if they are not, steps are taken to ensure that they are.

Good practice includes training upon yard hygiene and bio-security practices as part of an employee’s induction. Training should be refreshed and updated as necessary.

There have been a number of positive tests for cetirizine, which is commonly found in hay fever and anti-allergy tablets. This is one example of many over the counter remedies that contain prohibited substances. It is important to ensure that your staff are aware of this and exercise extreme care if taking any medication of any description.

Your medication records book will also be examined by the BHA and is likely to form part of the evidence before the Disciplinary Panel.

A failure to keep proper records can also be a separate breach of the Rule (C) 13 in addition to the Equine Anti-Doping breach, with the penalty range of between £250 – £2,000.

All treatments must be recorded and it is important to ensure that covers all the information required by the rule.   The record does not have to be in the from of the NTF medication book though that is, of course, an easy format to use with columns for all the information required. A copy of the rule setting out the duty to keep records can be found at http://rules.britishhorseracing.com/Orders-and-rules&staticID=126597&depth=3

Any queries relating to keeping of medication records, either contact the NTF (d.bacchus@racehorsetrainers.org) or the BHA (equine@britishhorseracing.com)

BHA announces further changes to 3yo flat novice conditions

Responding to feedback from trainers and analysis of five months’ of race data, the BHA has announced more changes to the 3 year old flat novice race conditions. These will take effect for races staged from Monday 9th July.

  • The definition of a “novice” is modified such that horses that have run three times and have won a race would be ineligible for three-year-old and three-year-old and upwards novice races. This means that the only winners that can run in novice races will be horses that had one or two previous runs.
  • There is a small increase in the number of maiden races restricted to unraced and once-raced horses, particularly in the first three months of the turf season. This proposed change will see the balance in novice and maiden races move to c.75% novice: 25% maiden.
  • Penalties carried by winners of Class 4 and 5 Open Novice and Class 4 Novice Auction races to be increased

The BHA says that comparing 3yo and 3yo+ novice/maiden races with the equivalent races staged in 2017, average field sizes have increased and their competitiveness, measured by the average starting price of the favourite, is almost unchanged. The main purpose of the latest changes, however, is to address concerns that the participation of a highly rated, more experienced horse looking for a soft option is making some novice races uncompetitive.

Ralph Beckett, who represents the NTF on the Racing Group said:

“These changes should address the issues that have emerged with extending the novice system from the two year old programme, where it is working well, to three year olds and older horses. We all know that in the past winning on your first or second start was often limiting to a horse’s future prospects, and this new approach is changing that.

“I know that a number of trainers have been concerned about the consequences for a horse’s handicap rating of finishing too close behind a previous winner, and it is important that we as trainers remember the BHA’s handicapping policy is to focus on what a horse has beaten, rather than what has beaten it.”

Changes to penalty structure

 Race  Current penalty structure  Proposed changes to penalty structure
Class 3 Open Novice A winner 6lb
Of 2 races 10lb
No change
Class 3 Novice Auction A winner 6lb
Of 2 races 10lb
No change
Class 4 Open Novice Winner of auction race 3lb
For each other race 6lb
Winner of auction race up from 3lb to 4lb
For each other race up from 6lb to 7lb
Class 4 Novice Auction For each race won 6lb For each race won up from 6lb to 7lb
Class 5 Open Novice Winner of auction race 4lb
For each other race 7lb
Winner of auction race up from 4lb to 5lb
For each other race, no change at 7lb
Class 5 & 6 Novice Auction For each race won 7lb No change

Data analysis covering period 1 January – 31 May

Races staged

 Year  Maiden  Novice  TOTAL
2017 343 0 343
2018 73 (22%) 266 (78%) 339

Race competitiveness

 Year Average Field Size Average SP of Favourite
2017 8.22 2.36
2018 8.64 2.29

Record of previous winners

From 1 Jan – 31 May, 353 horses carried a penalty in a novice event; 99, or 28%, of these penalty carriers won.

The profile of those 99 winners is summarised below, with those with seven or more previous runs obviously arising before the beginning of the turf season.

Previous runs Horses Winners Strike rate %
1 run 54 17 31
2 runs 138 32 23
3 runs 50 12 24
4 runs 32 14 44
5 runs 20 4 20
6 runs 23 6 26
7+ runs 36 14 29
TOTAL 353 99 28

Success rate of previous winners by penalty carried

Previous runs Horses Winners Strike rate %
3lb 6 2 33
4lb 43 14 33
6lb 47 13 28
7lb 236 63 27
More than one race 21 7 33

Get your horse’s vaccination dates right with EquiBioSafe

A recent insight into the systems used by trainers to ensure their horses are vaccinated on the correct dates to comply with the rules suggested a reminder about the EquiBioSafe app would be useful.

EquiBioSafe is the app designed to assist trainers and breeders follow the respective Codes of Practice for Infectious diseases affecting thoroughbreds. It is available on both Apple and Android.

The app, launched thanks to funding and support from the Horserace Betting Levy Board, has a handy vaccination date calculator to help avoid passport errors. Its main purpose is a comprehensive management tool enabling trainers to identify diseases and locate their nearest APHA reporting centre. Download it now from The App Store or Google Play.

BHA Notice – Bisphosphonates

The following Rule was brought into effect on 10 August 2017:

Schedule (B)3 – Requirements for horse to run

11B The horse must not have been administered

11.B.1 any bisphosphonate under the age of three years and six months as determined by its recorded date of birth, or

11.B.2 any bisphosphonate on the day of the race or on any of the 30 days before the day of the race in which the horse is declared to run.

A Notice regarding this amendment (New Stand-Down Period: Bisphosphonates) was published in July 2017, which included the following expectations regarding the use of bisphosphonates in horses racing or intending to race in Great Britain:

  • The product used should be licensed for horses in the UK;
  • There must be a diagnosis determined by a veterinary surgeon that supports the use of a bisphosphonate as an appropriate treatment; and
  • The bisphosphonate must be administered by a veterinary surgeon.

The Rule is intended to cover the use of therapeutic bisphosphonates.

Gamma scintigraphy (bone scan) is a diagnostic imaging technique, which involves the injection of a radioactive substance that is bound to a bisphosphonate. The bisphosphonates used in gamma scintigraphy are administered at a low dose and are not licensed for use in horses in the UK. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that they have a therapeutic effect on the horse.

The BHA’s position is that the use of gamma scintigraphy, when advised by a veterinary surgeon, is in the best interests of the horse and to discourage such practice may be detrimental to the welfare of the horse. The BHA’s approach is that, at its discretion, it will implement an exception to Schedule (B)3 paragraph 11 B for the use of bisphosphonates which are administered for the purposes of gamma scintigraphy in specific, documented cases. The exception permits both the administration of bisphosphonates to the horse under the age of three years and six months and bisphosphonates administered to the horse within 30 days of a race in which the horse is declared to run (however the exception will not permit bisphosphonates administered to the horse for gamma scintigraphy purposes on the day of the race).

It should be noted that any horse to which therapeutic bisphosphonates are administered under the age of three years and six months will not be qualified to run under the BHA Rules of Racing at any point in its life.