24 Jul 2013 Pre-2014 Releases

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has added three new Listed races for mares to the 2013/14 Jumps black-type programme, following positive indications from British and Irish sales houses regarding the sales prices of fillies.

The new races include a 2m 5f Mares’ Hurdle race at Warwick in February and two Mares’ Bumpers at Cheltenham in November and Huntingdon on Boxing Day. All three races are valued at £20,000.

The uplift in the value of fillies and mares has been achieved in part thanks to a new series of seven Listed Novices’ and Juvenile Hurdle races which were introduced, complementing the existing programme of mares’ races for the 2012/13 season. The initiative was launched by the BHA as part of an ongoing programme to increase opportunities for fillies and mares of all abilities in the race programme, thereby suitably catering for the British thoroughbred horse population at all levels, and providing further incentive for prospective owners to purchase Jumping-bred fillies and mares at auction.

Of the seven new races all but one performed well above the expected rating. Of these, the Betfred The Bonus King Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle Race at Aintree in December 2012 performed to an average rating of 125.50 (12lb above parameter). The first placed horse, L’Unique (FR), went on to win The Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle Race (Grade 1) on the first day of the Aintree Festival in April 2013, while the second placed horse, Cockney Sparrow, also went on to win the 2m John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle.

Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the BHA, said:

“Whilst 50% of the thoroughbreds born are fillies, the number of those that, having been bred to go Jumping, actually do so, leaves considerable scope for growth. Against the backdrop of a horse population that has been contracting in the last five years, there is an ever greater incentive for us to aim to create a system that encourages quality fillies and mares to have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability on the racecourse before going to the paddocks.

“This will clearly be an evolving process and it will take a number of years before we see lasting results, but the introduction of a programme of black-type fillies’ and mares’ Hurdle races and Bumpers does appear to be providing immediate benefits. Such measures, after just one season, seem to be altering buyers’ behaviour and increasing the average sales price of fillies.

“If we can, over time, have a material impact in this area – by stimulating the market for fillies and mares and seeing a greater proportion of them campaigned on the racecourse – the potential long-term benefits are significant for all stakeholders.”

The full list of races and the Annual Race Rating, determined by the average end of season handicap rating of the four highest rated horses in the race, were as follows:

Name of Race

Venue and Date


Annual Race Rating

The Betfred The Bonus King Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Aintree, 8.12.2012



The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Newbury, 1.12.2012



The Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Taunton, 30.12.2012



The Bet At Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Haydock Park, 22.12.2012



The Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Sandown Park, 15.2.2013



The William Hill No. 1 Downloaded Betting App Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Doncaster, 2.3.2013



The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

Cheltenham, 18.4.2013




Statistics provided to the BHA by prominent auction houses have indicated that the changes to the race programme are starting to influence fillies’ and mares’ sales prices at auction. Tattersalls Ireland has reported an 88% increase in the average sales price for fillies at their recent Derby sale, while Doncaster Bloodstock Sales (DBS) prices for fillies have also risen by 16.5%. Furthermore, the average sales price of Jumps fillies at the DBS December Sales rose by 81% from 2011-12.