Pre-race veterinary protocols in place again at Aintree Grand National festival

22 Mar 24

Comprehensive pre-race veterinary protocols will again be in place at the 2024 Aintree Grand National Festival, as part of ongoing efforts to continually improve safety and ensure horses are lining up in the best possible condition.

As in previous years, trainers with entries in the three races over the Grand National fences – the Grand National, Foxhunters’ and Topham Steeple Chases – must provide the BHA with detailed information about the treatment and medication their horses have received. These records are submitted in stages and accompanied by videos of each horse trotting.

For 2024, the medical declaration process has been extended to races taking place on the Mildmay and Hurdles courses, with completed medical forms required for all runners in all races, as is already the case at the Cheltenham Festival.

The information is stored digitally and reviewed by BHA Veterinary Officers, who will, where necessary, work closely with trainers and stable veterinary surgeons to complete any additional assessments that may be needed to support a horse’s suitability to race.

Full details of the pre-raceday veterinary and medical declaration requirements and the relevant deadlines have been communicated to trainers, with the BHA providing specific guidance and support to help ensure the processes runs smoothly.

The BHA and Aintree Racecourse are again working with Equine MediRecord (EMR) and all medication declarations are to be submitted using the EMR secure online platform. A familiar system for many British and Irish trainers, EMR was used successfully at the 2023 Grand National Festival and at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

The EMR team is contacting all trainers directly via email once entries close with full details about the information that needs to be submitted and the relevant deadlines. The EMR team can be contacted by:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone (UK): +44 (0) 7469 131861
  • Phone (IRE): +353 (0) 86 409 2584

All runners in all races at the Aintree Grand National Festival will continue to receive a pre-race examination and trot-up at the racecourse on the morning of their race. This will be overseen by BHA Veterinary Officers.

BHA Director of Equine Regulation, Safety and Welfare, James Given, said:

“I would like to thank trainers and teams for your assistance, co-operation and positive engagement with these processes, which are designed to help us continually improve the sport’s safety record and prevent reasonably avoidable risk.

“We are particularly grateful to those with horses entered in the Grand National, Foxhunters’ and Topham Steeple Chases, who have already provided or are in the process of uploading the necessary information as part of the initial submission stages.

“We are also pleased to be working again with Equine MediRecord, which enables more streamlined and efficient analysis of each horse’s medical data and clinical records. Hopefully this is also reflected in the user experience.”

Pierce Dargan, Chief Executive Officer of Equine MediRecord, added:

“We’re very happy to expand our relationship with the BHA and The Jockey Club and use of our EMR platform to support all trainers in completing the mandatory pre-raceday veterinary processes ahead of Grand National festival, as we did with the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.

“The EMR platform allows for the horse’s veterinary history and treatment information to be collected and stored safely and securely online, making it quick and easy for connections to upload the necessary information to ensure compliance with the protocols in place.

“EMR is already used by trainers around the world, including in Britain and Ireland for the day-to-day management of veterinary records. Our team will be on hand to provide additional support wherever this is needed.”