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: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org



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.”




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.

New stand-down period: BISPHOSPHONATE

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) would like to advise the Responsible Person (i.e. trainers, owners, breeders) and their veterinary surgeons of a new Rule requiring a mandatory 30 day Stand-Down period from racing following the administration of any bisphosphonate licensed for equine use. This Rule will be effective from 10 August 2017.

“11B The horse must not have been administered

11.B.1any 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”.

The BHA expectations with regard to the use of bisphosphonates in horses racing or intending to race in Great Britain in order to comply with the Rules of Racing

·       The product used should be licensed for use in horses the UK;

·       The horse must be over three years and six months of age at the time of administration as determined by its recorded date of birth;

·       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.

Due to their complex nature and action, the excretion of bisphosphonates may be unpredictable, leading to considerable variation in excretion times.  This variability may be increased when bisphosphonates are administered to horses with on-going musculoskeletal disease process, including the possibility that bisphosphonates may be released from bone at a period remote from initial administration. As such, it cannot be guaranteed that future musculoskeletal disease processes will not result in an Adverse Analytical Finding.

As a guide, the BHA are aware of data from studies in normal horses which indicate that if a single dose of Tildren® (CEVA) at 1 mg/kg were administered intravenously, the Detection Time would be unlikely to exceed the Stand-Down period. A discussion between the Responsible Person and their veterinary surgeon is essential when considering administration of any medication which is a Prohibited Substance on raceday.


03 July 2017

Notice of outbreak of EHV-1 in Yorkshire

As you may be aware, there has been a reported outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus-1 in a Trainer’s property in Hambleton, Yorkshire. The affected yard has been placed into isolation, with increased biosecurity measures in place. Under Rule (C)30 of the BHA Rules of Racing, no horse will be permitted to move off this yard until such time that the BHA is satisfied that there is no longer a risk of the spread of infectious disease.

Two further yards which have shared facilities and/or transport with the affected yard have also been placed into isolation for a minimum of 14 days, with increased biosecurity measures in place.

On each yard, the BHA will liaise with the trainers, their veterinary surgeons and the Animal Health Trust about the testing protocols that will take place before any restrictions are lifted. With these quarantine, increased biosecurity measures and testing protocols in place, the BHA is currently satisfied that the risk of the spread of infectious disease has not increased above the normal level.

As a reminder, trainers should be constantly vigilant for signs of infectious disease in racehorses. It is advisable to carry out twice daily temperature checks on all horses. Any horse showing signs of infectious disease or a raised temperature should be isolated where possible and examined by a veterinary surgeon.

We would also remind trainers of their responsibility to report communicable diseases under the BHA Rules of Racing, Rule (C)30 – Duty to report communicable diseases (see excerpt below).

Further information on Equine Herpes Virus and appropriate biosecurity measures can be found on the EquiBioSafe App, in the National Trainers Federation Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training and in the Horserace Betting Levy Board Codes of Practice.

rules report communicable disease