Changes in the pipeline for Hunter Chase eligibility

The BHA Racing Group has agreed changes to the eligibility for Hunter Chases. This has followed a long debate over several meetings with the NTF not supporting the fourth of these recommendations:

  1. Licensed Trainers can continue to run horses in Hunter Chases
  2. Cessation of the November to December blackout period for horses running in the following year’s Hunter Chases
  3. No change to the Hunter Chase eligibility based on previous race performance
  4. Horses that run under the care of a licensed trainer in a Hunter Chase may run only in a Hunter Chase for the remainder of the Hunter Chase season (i.e. up to the Stratford HC meeting.)

The NTF’s concern was that the number of horses being sent Hunter Chasing from licensed yards may decrease significantly as a result of this change. The BHA’s opinion was that that if the other three recommendations were implemented, particularly the cessation of the November and December blackout period, then the whole approach to Hunter Chasing eligibility would be relaxed to a point where a large proportion of horses would be able to dip in and out of Hunter Chasing, something that would be undesirable.

The Racing Group will review the impact of the changes, including the number of horses being sent Hunter Chasing from licensed yards, at the end of the first season.

Forms to be completed for hind shoeing dispensation

Over the past six months the BHA’s Racecourse Stewarding Co-Ordinator has received a lot of calls from trainers at extremely short notice wishing to run their horse without hind shoes. On occasions horses have been brought to the racecourse partially shod and the trainer has no knowledge of the dispensation process required.

We are therefore reminding you about the procedure. The form provided at this link on the new BHA website (Regulation/Health and Welfare/Notices and forms), along with veterinary evidence, must be submitted by 12pm two working days before the declarations deadline. All the requisite information must be emailed to for review by the veterinary department.

Riding instructions for apprentice and conditional jockeys

When using an apprentice or conditional jockey, your riding instructions must cover their use of the whip.  In a recent appeal, the BHA Disciplinary Panel found that this requirement is mandatory.  The exact detail of what the trainer must say to the rider about their use of the whip will vary according to the circumstances.

There will be occasions when a trainer commits a technical breach of the Rules by making no mention of the whip to an apprentice or conditional jockey but no penalty ensues. However, as a trainer, you should be aware that if an apprentice or conditional is called into an enquiry about their use of the whip, the stewards will ask about the instructions given by the trainer about using the whip. Failure to instruct apprentices and conditionals on use of the whip leaves you open to being found in breach of rule (C) 45.2 and fined £650.

A copy of the presentation on the running and riding rules given by Roderick Moore at seminars organised by the NTF last year can be found in the “On the Racecourse” section of our website.

NTF responds to new rules on non-runners


16 August 2017


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:



Advice to prevent contamination in stables

Today’s news headlines relating Dean Ivory’s unfortunate experience is a potent reminder of the necessity for stringent policies in your yard to manage not just equine but also human medication. At the NTF we know from this summer’s regional meetings how vulnerable trainers feel as a result of the strict liability rules.

In the May/June 2017 printed newsletter, we published a reminder of the advice available from the NTF about medication control and preventing contamination through various sources including feedstuffs and bedding. There is an information sheet entitled “Guidance on preventing contamination by prohibited substances” on our website under Information/Veterinary. It is divided into three main areas: contaminated feedstuffs including the BETA NOPS Code; cross contamination; and medication management. One extract reads:

“Advise staff not to urinate in stables at the yard or raceday stables – highlight the very real risk of cross contamination this poses.”

In the same area of our website you can also find a template poster about avoding the risks of contamination. We are working on the production of a laminated version of this to send to all our members in the near future.

If you would like more advice about the types of measures you can take to show you have taken all reasonable measures to prevent contamination, please speak to Dawn Bacchus at the NTF office.

NTF responds to BHA announcement on new stewarding model

Commenting on today’s British Horseracing Authority announcement of plans for a new model for stewarding in British racing, Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, said

“To date the NTF has not been asked to provide stakeholder input so we look forward to the consultation in which we will be able to examine in more detail the BHA’s proposals and justification for a different stewarding model. Our initial reaction is that replacing the volunteer stewards with salaried stewards will mean the loss of a valuable source of impartial opinion in stewards’ decisions. We believe the volunteer stewards’ more independent perspective leads to a balanced outcome in enquiries.”



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.”