First wind surgery declarations available to appear in racecards from Friday

18 Jan 2018 BHA Features Integrity Welfare

Following an announcement by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in November 2017, the first horses to be declared as having undergone wind surgery since their last run will appear in racecards from tomorrow, Friday 19 January 2018.

A total of four horses, including Alberobello, trained by Nicky Martin, and Dancing Amy and Dr Hooves, both trained by Lucinda Russell, will be flagged on pre race data feeds as having had a wind surgery (WS) since its last performance. This pre-race data is used to make up racecards on the racecourse, newspapers and online.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said:

“We have written to trainers to remind them of their responsibility to declare horses who have undergone wind surgery since their last run, and are pleased to see that a number of declarations have already been made since we made our announcement in November.

“We have been very clear from the start that any assumptions of the effect of wind operations on performance must be made entirely by the betting public. In many cases a wind operation will not bring about any improvement in a horse’s form. However, it is clear that – on occasions – it certainly does, and it is for this reason that we felt it was important that this information should be in the public domain.

“This is about openness, transparency and access to data for the betting customer. The Horseracing Bettors Forum told us that their research said that this is the piece of data that is the most requested by the betting public.”

Wind operations are routine surgical procedures which are designed to assist a horse with its breathing.

The BHA has identified a list of five of the most relevant and frequent surgeries, which trainers have been asked to declare:

  • Tie back (prosthetic laryngoplasty)
  • Hobday (ventriculectomy/cordectomy)
  • Epiglottic entrapment surgery
  • Tie forward (dorsal displacement soft palate surgery)
  • Soft palate cautery

The BHA believe it is reasonable that the betting customers should take it as read that the trainer, owner, and their veterinarian will have performed the most appropriate surgery to address the issue with the specific horse.

As of 19 January 2018, racecards will have the ability either to display “WS” identifying that a horse has had “new wind surgery since last performance” or include similar information at the bottom of the card alongside information on horses carrying headgear for the first time.

The wind surgeries indicator, when carried in racecards, will only appear for a horse’s first race start following a wind surgery and not for subsequent race starts. The specific type of wind surgery will not be shown.

The declaration of wind surgeries will only be required for horses which have previously raced, regardless of whether this was in Great Britain or elsewhere. The declaration of a wind surgery will be required prior to declarations for the horse’s first race start after it has been subjected to wind surgery. Where a horse is subjected to wind surgery on multiple occasions the declaration will be required on each occasion.

The requirement to declare wind surgeries will apply equally to horses trained in Great Britain and horses trained overseas which are racing in Great Britain. When a horse has only run in point to point races and is now to run under rules then the wind surgery does not need to be declared.

In instances when the surgeries are not declared, and of which the BHA becomes aware, the penalty structure will be as follows:

1. If the surgery is notified after declarations are made but before race day:

  • 1st offence: £290
  • 2nd offence: £580
  • 3rd offence: £1,160
  • 4th offence: refer to BHA head office

2. All other breaches

  • 1st offence: £650
  • 2nd offence: £1,300
  • 3rd offence onwards: refer to BHA head office

Non-compliance can be detected through, for example, accessing horses’ veterinary records, or other information gathered through the BHA’s regulatory processes.

The data gathered from the declaring of wind operations will be used for equine welfare research and development in the future.

Notes to editors:

  1. Information such as WS is part of Pre-Raceday Data (PRD), which includes information you would find on a racecard, such as final fields, owners, trainers, jockeys, weight, colours, draw and ratings. Racecourse Data Company is the organisation which licenses PRD information (supplied by Weatherbys) to all third parties via a transparent rate-card utilised across all customers.
  2. The four horses which have undergone wind surgery and are declared in tomorrow’s racecards are: Alberobello, trained by Nicky Martin, declared at Chepstow, Dr Hooves, trained by Lucinda Russell, declared at Musselburgh, Dancing Amy, trained by Lucinda Russell, declared at Musselburgh, Wimpole, trained by Michael Scudamore, declared at Musselburgh.