Changes to the Rules of Racing – 2021

04 Jan 2021 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures

We are writing to inform you about several changes to the Rules of Racing, which are scheduled to come into effect on the dates specified below.

Some Rules have been simplified to improve clarity and consistency, while others have been modified following engagement with and feedback from participants.

If you have any queries, please contact: [email protected]

Revised Stop Race Procedures

A minor word change to Rule (F)32 to ensure consistency with the revised BHAGI 3.7 – Stop Race Procedure.

Full details of the revised stop race procedures, which come into effect today (4 January) were announced on 14 December 2020 and are available to read on the BHA website.

The Stop Race Flag has been re-designed from yellow, to orange and yellow quarters, to be as visible as possible and consistent with other racing jurisdictions.


On course declarations

From 1 February, Rule (E)7 will be updated to permanently remove the requirement for Trainers to sign and verify a Declaration Sheet on arrival at the racecourse.

In line with COVID-19 protocols, the horse is considered declared on course once it has arrived at the stable yard. This change will become permanent from 1 February, with trainers required to inform the Clerk of the Scales if any of the racecard information relating to the weights and colours for their horse is incorrect.

Raceday Privilege Requests

New rules and penalty structures will be introduced from 1 February to ensure that Raceday Privilege Requests are completed on time and using the correct system.

Trainers are currently required to submit Raceday Privilege Requests online using the Racing Admin system by 1pm on the day before raceday.

At present, Trainers who miss the 1pm deadline can email the Virtual Declarations desk with any late submissions. However, from 1 February, the email service will cease and trainers who miss the deadline will instead need to speak to the Stewards to explain the reason for the late submission.
The following penalty structure will be introduced to deal with late submissions without good reason:

  • 1st to 3rd offence – Caution (with one further caution available for trainers who have more than 750 runners)
  • 4th and subsequent offences – Band A fine

The Stewards will be able to exercise discretion and permit late requests without disciplinary action if the submission is due to unforeseen circumstances – for example, a horse travels badly to the racecourse and connections wish to use a red hood as a calming measure.
The BHA and Weatherbys have produced a support manual, including a step-by-step guide, to help trainers complete Raceday Privilege Requests using Racing Admin. This can be viewed here.



From 1 February 2021, all races aimed specifically at horses rated 50 and below will be run as 0-50 Classified races and staged as Class 6 races.

Class 7 handicaps (45-50) will no longer be staged.


National Hunt Flat races – elimination sequence

The following changes the Race Administration Code (Paragraphs 31 – 33) will be effective from the start of the new Jump Season, commencing on 25 April 2021. They seek to clarify the elimination sequences for National Hunt Flat races and help ensure that connections do not miss suitable entry opportunities for their horses.

Race titles to be amended to help distinguish between different race types:

  • ‘Standard’ to be removed and replaced with (Category 1 Elimination)
  • ‘Intermediate’ to be removed and replaced with (Category 2 Elimination)

An example race title will therefore appear as: 

The Racing Group Open National Hunt Flat Race (Class 5)
(Category 1 Elimination)

For Maiden races, the elimination sequence (Category 3 Elimination) will be added to the title, but ‘Maiden’ will not be removed.

In addition, the elimination sequence for Maiden (i.e. Category 3 Elimination) NHF races will be adjusted so that horses that have been placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th are protected ahead of horses that have run and been unplaced twice.

This provides greater consistency with elimination sequence for Maiden Hurdle races, where horses that have previously been placed receive protection from elimination.


The following minor amendments are effective immediately and provide additional clarity to existing Rules.

Rule (F) 29

Reworded to clarify that jockeys must ‘ride’ the correct course and comply with all direction markers.

Running Requirements Code

15A. Added to clarify additional requirements for National Hunt Flat Races (already announced via Racing Admin).

18. Line added to specify the requirements for Hunters’ Steeple Chases – updated wording highlighted in bold font.