NTF statement on the Disciplinary Panel’s full reasons in the Hughie Morrison case

The NTF is grateful to the independent Disciplinary Panel for providing today a full account of its decision following the hearing in December 2017 involving Hughie Morrison.

The NTF supports the current rules on strict liability in equine anti-doping cases and the Disciplinary Panel’s detailed and incisive analysis confirms our contention that these rules are no bar to the Panel arriving at wise decisions and appropriate penalties in the light of the specific evidence in each case.

We accept the Disciplinary Panel’s finding that the BHA ran a fair investigation. At the same time, aspects of recent prohibited substance cases raise a number of serious concerns that will have an impact on the way trainers manage their yards and wider implications for the industry. We intend to meet the BHA to discuss these issues soon.



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

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

Equine Herpes vaccinations in France

France Galop have provided the International Racing Bureau with some information regarding the Equine Herpes (EHV) vaccination that is now a requirement for all horses to run in France.

The requirement consists of 2 primary vaccinations followed by a booster. A horse is permitted to race after the second primary vaccination.

  • From April 1st 2018, two primary vaccinations must have been completed
  • The second first primary vaccination must be given between 21 and 92 days after the first.
  • The booster can then be done between 150 and 215 days after the 2nd primary vaccination.
  • A horse will not be allowed to race for four days after the 2nd primary vaccination.

Horses will be allowed to run in France up until 1st April 2018 with the current vaccinations requirements.

If you are planning an early campaign for your horses in France in April 2018, you will need to plan the course of vaccinations by the beginning of March.

NTF statement on Hughie Morrison result

The Disciplinary Panel’s decision to fine rather than ban Hughie Morrison is in the NTF’s opinion a fair and balanced result on the evidence.

The NTF has said it before but it bears repeating that this and other cases involving prohibited substance have left trainers feeling very vulnerable. We are pleased that the Disciplinary Panel, while having regard to the requirement for strict liability, is taking a broader view of the issues and not accepting without question the arguments run by the BHA’s legal team. We believe the Panel’s approach is the right one for the best interests of the sport.

Nothing in our statement should lead to any doubt that the NTF supports racing’s anti-doping policy generally and zero tolerance of anabolic steroids. However, today the NTF is calling for the BHA to review aspects of its management of anti-doping regulation. There are a number of issues but one is that it is not good enough for the regulator to hide behind trainers’ strict liability to avoid a thorough investigation, particularly when the stakes are as high as they were in this case.. The BHA requires not only the confidence of the public in the integrity of racing but also the confidence of its participants that they will be treated with sufficient care in the course of an investigation. The BHA’s reason for not conducting a hair test on Our Little Sister does not stand up to scrutiny.

A point that bears on the BHA’s duty of care to defendants is that in spite of the recent announcement of a route to pro bono legal representation, there are very few trainers who could afford to go to the lengths Hughie Morrison could to mount the defence he needed. NTF members have access to our legal expenses insurance scheme but even that is not able to fully cover very costly litigation.

Rupert Arnold

Further details about EHV vaccination for racing in France

Last week we told you about the mandatory EHV vaccination required to race in France next year. Some trainers have asked for clarity about details of the vaccination intervals required by France Galop. The BHA has issued the following guidance:

Vaccination Protocol
The vaccination protocol will be the same as the protocol for vaccinations against Equine Influenza:

  • The horse must have received two primary vaccinations which are given not less than 21 days and not more than 92 days apart
  • If sufficient time has elapsed, the horse must also have received o A booster vaccination which is given not less than 150 days and not more than 215 days after the second component of the primary vaccination
  • Further booster vaccinations at intervals of not more than a year apart (or such lesser times as the Authority may, in an emergency, decide) Booster vaccinations at six months are not required, though these may be administered in accordance with the vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations if deemed appropriate by a trainer’s veterinary surgeon.

The horse must have been vaccinated against Equine Herpes Virus by a veterinary surgeon, and the vaccination must be licensed for use in UK.

Stand-Down period following vaccination
France: none of the vaccinations must have been given on the day of a race in which the horse is declared to run or on any of the 4 days before the race.
Great Britain: none of the vaccinations must have been given on the day of a race in which the horse is declared to run or on any of the 6 days before the race. This Stand-Down period applies to all vaccinations, including Equine Herpes Virus.

Failure to comply Horses arriving on racecourses in France that have not been correctly vaccinated against Equine Herpes Virus will not be permitted to run.

This Rule has not yet been published in the France Galop Rules of Racing. The requirements of the Rule will be made effective 3 months after publication. The BHA will communicate the date of publication as soon as it is made aware.

New ringworm certificate required from 1st December

From 1st December, if you are taking a horse previously affected by ringworm to the racecourse, a new form must be used to certify that it is no longer contagious. The form can be found on the BHA website here [and at the link at the end of this article.] The differences from the old certificate are:

  • The certificate is now valid for 14 days, rather than 30
  • The certificate now requires a stamp from the veterinary surgeon that is signing the certificate
  • The horse’s microchip number is now required
  • Section A: a diagnosis for the non-contagious dermatitis is now required
  • Section B: the BHA will now accept fungal culture and PCR results, in addition to fungal microscopy
  • Section C: the word ‘prescribed’ has been removed (as Imaverol is a POM-VPS, and may be obtained by a trainer without a vet’s prescription)
  • Section C: the vet is now signing to say that he/she has examined the horse post-treatment, and there is no evidence of active ringworm in his/her opinion. On the old-style certificate, the vet was signing to say that they were prescribing treatment (but not that the horse had been treated)

There is also a minor rule change in the pipeline relating to ringworm. The modification is to rule (C)31 such that a horse “which appears to be affected with any form of ringworm may be withdrawn.” Arguably this reflects how the rule is being applied now. The rule change is effective from 1st January 2018.


EHV vaccine to become mandatory to race in France

The BHA has been told by France Galop that from January 2018, it will make vaccination against Equine Herpes Virus mandatory under their rules of racing. We understand that the BHA and Animal Health Trust do not favour the French policy. However, a letter written by France Galop and found on the internet by a British trainer states, “The EHV vaccination was already mandatory in France for the breeding stock…and our stakeholders have expressed the will to have all the racehorses vaccinated. Consequently we have decided to extend the benefit of this vaccination to the training and racing areas.”

The French policy appears to disregard the shortage of vaccine in Europe and the problems encountered by trainers who have used imported vaccine. Although the letter indicates that the rule has not yet been published, it would be wise to plan ahead now if you intend to have runners in France after 1st January 2018.


Microchip number must be checked against passport

With effect from 1st January 2018, the rules will require trainers to have checked the microchip number for all horses in their care against the number in the horse’s passport. This is in addition to the existing requirement to check that the horse’s markings match those in the passport. Any discrepancy in either must be notified to Weatherbys.

Your vet will have a microchip scanner so you can ask him/her to check the number during a routine visit. Alternatively, some trainers may find it useful to purchase their own scanner; they cost around £50. Halo is a brand being used and suppliers can be found online.