13 trainers lose right to self-certify as part of initiative to reduce non-runner rates

04 Apr 2018 BHA Features Disciplinary Integrity

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today informed 13 Flat trainers that they will have their right to withdraw horses via self-certificate suspended for 12 months from April 16, as a consequence of their non-runner rates operating above a set threshold for the last year.

Trainers had been informed in August 2017 that they had until 1 April 2018 to ensure that their non-runner rates were below prescribed thresholds – which were set at 50% above the average non-runner rate – or they would have their right to self-certify removed. At present the thresholds stand at 14% on the Flat and 12% over Jumps. No Jumps trainers are operating above the current threshold, which will fall to 10% from the end of June.

This was a recommendation of the recent non-runners review, which had the objective of decreasing non-runner rates in British racing, and included extensive data analysis and consultation with the National Trainers Federation (NTF), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF). It was agreed by all parties that the measures to reduce the number of non-runners should target those trainers with relatively high non-runner rates.

The early indications are that the recommendations have had a positive effect, with the non-runner rate reducing by 14% from 6.6% of declarations to 5.7% of declarations in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. The BHA will continue to monitor non-runner rates and the effect of the review’s recommendations.

The affected trainers have 14 days in which to query the data, though this is not a formal appeal process and the sanctions will only be removed if the data is shown to be inaccurate. The affected trainers are still able to withdraw horses for valid reasons via vet’s certificates without penalty, in the same manner as they were prior to the introduction of self-certification 10 years ago.

Non-runners during the period of extreme cold and heavy snowfall from 27 February to 6 March were discounted, due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the weather in this period. Declarations were counted as usual during this period.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said:

“It is essential that we take these steps to reduce the number of non-runners. They are not good for our sport, its fans or its participants.

“All of the bodies who took part in the recent review agreed that we should do this by targeting those trainers who are consistently generating a high rate of non-runners, rather than putting in place measures that unfairly affect or restrict those trainers who operate within the spirit of the rules.

“What the data has shown is that the vast majority of trainers are able to operate well beneath the thresholds without any issue.

“We accept there are a number of unavoidable and valid reasons for horses not being able to run but it is very pleasing to see the non-runner rate within both codes has fallen so far this year. Of course the welfare of horses must continue to come first and we fully expect that, if a horse is not fit to run, the affected trainers would withdraw it via a vet’s certificate with no penalty.”

The tables, which show individual trainers’ non-runner rates over the last 12 months, can be found here.

Notes to Editors

1. Full details of the non-runners review and its recommendations can be found here.

2. The trainers who have had their right to self-certify suspended for 12 months are as follows:

3. The full list of trainers non-runner rates can be found here.

4. Non-runner data for 1 Jan – 31 March 2018 compared to 2017