The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed 11 June as the date on which the Disciplinary Panel will hold a hearing into events prior to the start of the 2014 Grand National.
The hearing will determine whether 39 riders are in breach of Rule (D)44.4 of the Rules of Racing, in the light of Rule (D)44.5, in that they “attempted to line up and/or take a position for the start before being instructed to do so by the Starter.”
The Stewards’ enquiry was unable to be completed on the day of the race at Aintree on 5 April and the Stewards therefore referred the matter to BHA.
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for BHA, said:
“We have already stated our commitment to work with the jockeys to develop principles as to how best to manage situations where a large numbers of riders are involved in a single racecourse incident.
“We have also undertaken to sit down with them to discuss ways to better manage and hopefully reduce the potential for issues to arise at the start of the Grand National, once the disciplinary process is complete.
“However, it is worth bearing in mind that we have had extensive and frequent consultation with the jockeys on these subjects in recent years.
“For example, the jockeys provided key evidence to the in-depth Grand National Review of 2011 on a range of matters, including the start and processes prior to the start.
“Following the 2012 running of the race, which was the subject of a false start, all the riders who rode in the race were written to, notifying them that they had lined up prior to being instructed to do so or lined up despite being instructed not to do so. However BHA decided not to hold an enquiry, largely due to the mitigating circumstances relating to the delay caused by Synchronised unseating on the way to the start.
“This led to further consultation and resulted in the repositioning of the Grand National start and accompanying amendments to procedures successfully implemented for the 2013 running, as well as procedural improvements across all Jump starts introduced last season.
“We are committed to working with the jockeys to continue to look at how best to manage the start of the Grand National, and indeed in all Jump races. However, the disciplinary process relating to this year’s running must first be concluded by the Disciplinary Panel.”