BHA statement regarding Sandown appeals

17 Dec 2019 BHA Features Disciplinary

The stop race procedures are essential to protect the safety of horses and jockeys, and the medical or veterinary staff who may be treating them on the racecourse.

The position of the stewards at Sandown was that the existing stop race procedures were carried out adequately, and that most of the riders heard the whistle and either saw – or should have seen – the stop race flag, which was deployed directly in the racing line ahead of the Pond fence.

However, we operate a regulatory system which allows for appeals of raceday decisions.

We must await the Panel’s full written reasons before commenting further on the specifics of this case.

The current stop race policies were agreed in 2008 between the BHA, PJA and racecourses. In 2017 the PJA raised a query regarding the policies, including the systems that are used for deploying flag operatives and whether the flags should remain as bright yellow. The cross-industry racecourse committee, which is the appropriate body, considered the issue and came to the decision that there should be no changes to the current system at this time.

There have been three instances where the stop race procedures were successfully deployed since this date, prior to Sandown. The matter has not been raised further by the PJA in this period.

However, we have informed the PJA that, if they wish, we would be happy to revisit this discussion, alongside the racecourses.


1. The existing stop race procedures can be found at BHA General Instruction (BHAGI) 3.7, and read as follows:

“When there is a major hazard ahead which is unable to be avoided and, in the opinion of the Managing Executive, necessitates stopping (and therefore voiding) a race, a yellow Stop Race flag must be deployed and waved by pre-determined racecourse personnel on the instruction of the Clerk of the Course or nominated representative of the Managing Executive only. In addition, the person(s) waving the flag(s) must blow a Fox 40 whistle to ensure riders are aware of his presence. Managing Executives are responsible for the specific operating procedures and training that they put in place to optimise the deployment of yellow Stop Race flags. These procedures must be clearly highlighted in all relevant documentation compiled, circulated and displayed by the Managing Executive.”