BHA announces extension to the Reserves deadline

12 Aug 2015 Racing/Fixtures

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced an extension to the cut-off time that Reserves may be brought into a race.

Effective from 5 October 2015, the cut-off time for Reserves moves from 9am to 1pm on the day before the race. Declarations of riders for any Reserves which obtain a run will be required by 1.30pm on the day before the race.

The change to the race conditions for Reserves was ratified at the BHA’s recent General Instruction Liaison Group, following consultation with the Horsemen’s Group, Racecourse Association and bookmakers through various Committees and Forums. The BHA and the Racehorse Owners Association looked to review the Reserves deadline in the light of a late withdrawal in the Grand National this year, which saw the race go off with 39 runners.

Paul Johnson, the BHA’s Head of Racing, said:

“Extending the cut-off time for Reserves reduces the chance of an over-subscribed race going off with fewer runners than the safety factor allows. This ensures these races have the largest field possible and gives horses that haven’t made it into the race initially the best opportunity to get a run.

“As was widely reported at the time, the 2015 Grand National went off with 39 runners following a non-runner being declared after the 9am Reserve deadline. The extension of the cut-off time for Reserves to 1pm the day before the race will reduce the chances of a repeat of such a scenario in the Grand National as well as other eligible races.”

Races eligible for Reserves are Group 1 Flat races, Heritage Handicaps and Grade 3 Jump Handicaps with 48 hour declarations. In order for Reserves to be included in eligible races racecourses must apply to the BHA’s Racing Department, racecourses can also discuss with the Racing Department the possibility of adding Reserves to races of other classifications.

From 5 October, in the event of the Racing Calendar Office being notified of a non-runner by 1pm on the day before the race, the first Reserve will replace that non-runner. If there are further non-runners by this time, the remaining reserves will replace those horses in the same way.

Day-of-race Reserves has been trialled in Britain, but it was not deemed to be successful when feedback from across the industry was taken into account.



Notes to Editors:

1. The BHA General Instructions (Section 2 – Race Planning) outline the race conditions for the provision of Reserves. Prior to 5 October implementation the amended condition will be available on the BHA website: and will be listed on the Racing Admin website.