16 August 2017
NATIONAL TRAINERS FEDERATION RESPONDS TO NEW RULES ON NON-RUNNERS
Since the consultation began last autumn, the National Trainers Federation (NTF) has had extensive discussions with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) about its proposals to regulate on non-runners. While agreeing it is desirable to reduce the numbers of non-runners and appreciating the effect of non-runners on betting, we have stressed to the BHA that the factors that lead to non-runners are often beyond trainers’ control. The BHA refers to the protection of international revenues generated by 48-hour declarations but everyone agreed at the time they were introduced that 48-hour declarations would inevitably increase the rate of non-runners and data backs this up.
The NTF’s policy is that rules on non-runners should be proportionate and targeted. In the past we have supported an approach aimed at trainers with the highest non-runner rates. We believe this has played a part in causing a decline in the long term trend in non-runner rates since 2012 shown in the BHA’s published figures. Though the graph moved up in 2016, the figures are down again in 2017.
The outcome of our discussions with the BHA is a package aligned with our policy. There are sound reasons for a two-day stand down following withdrawal with a vet’s certificate. Publishing trainers’ non-runner rates and the sanction for a high rate will have an impact on trainers’ decisions across all reasons for declaring a non-runner.
We will liaise with the ROA and PJA about late declaration of non-runners. The deadline of 9.00am, as well as creating an unwelcome third declaration deadline each morning, presents logistical difficulties for trainers if going reports have not been updated and owners cannot be contacted within this timescale.
Rupert Arnold said, “Trainers want to have runners. They only withdraw horses if it is in the horse’s and the owner’s best interest. We support the 2-day stand down following a vet certificate and publishing each trainer’s percentage will encourage trainers to think hard about declaring non-runners. This and the other rule changes should have the desired effect of reducing the number of non-runners without risking horse welfare or unreasonably restricting trainers from acting in the owners’ interests.“
While going descriptions are still subjective, there being no objective measure of the state of the ground that carries universal confidence, it has been impossible to agree rules that restrict withdrawal related to going. Weather is volatile and unpredictable in this country and we understand the Horseracing Bettors Forum judges that a large number of going descriptions are inaccurate based on race times. We acknowledge Clerks of the Course have an unenviable job but before any restrictions are placed on trainers withdrawing for going related reasons, accountability for going reports and the timing of their publication is essential.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org