Forthcoming Rule and Penalty Changes
Published: 20 March 2000
“The Rules of Racing and the levels of penalties issued for breaches of the Rules are continually under review. Changes are brought about by incidents on the racecourse and from experience gained from either visiting or liaising with overseas turf authorities.” – Malcolm Wallace, Director of Regulation.
A number of new rules and amendments to existing rules will be introduced to either coincide with the start of the Flat turf season or shortly after, they include the following:
Cautions and One-day Suspensions Last September the Jockey Club hosted a seminar attended by the major racing authorities in Europe in an effort to harmonise rules and procedures where possible. Whilst examining incidents of interference and misuse of the whip it became apparent that jockeys riding in Britain are given slightly tougher penalties at the bottom end of the range. As a result it was agreed that the minimum penalties in Britain should be lowered to include Cautions and One-day suspensions, in line with Ireland and mainland Europe. This change, which takes effect from Thursday 23rd March, will also serve to give racecourse stewards complete flexibility to match the punishment to the crime.
Removal of Riding Fee Another product of the European Harmonisation meeting is the removal of a jockey’s riding fee in the event of his mount being disqualified due to the rider being found guilty of either intentional interference or reckless riding. Following an incident of intentional interference or reckless riding the rules state that a horse must be disqualified, the connections therefore receive no prize money. From 1st April the rider of the disqualified horse will also forfeit the riding fee.
Warnings for Misconduct at the start An amendment to the rule dealing with misconduct by a rider at the start will be introduced shortly. The revised rule states that “where, in the opinion of the Starter, the misconduct does not warrant a report to the Racecourse Stewards, the Starter will issue the Rider with a written warning regarding his behaviour. In the event of future misconduct at the start the Rider will be liable to be reported by the Starter to the Stewards.” The formal warning will be removed from the jockey’s record one year after the offence was committed. The rule is reproduced in full below and will come into effect shortly.
Marker Poles at the Start The European Harmonisation seminar also revealed that Britain is the only European country without Marker Poles on turf. Marker Poles placed a short distance after the start act as a safety measure and ensure that jockeys ride to their draw; they have been in use at all starts on British All Weather Tracks for four years. However, their introduction on turf will be phased in and initially Marker Poles will be introduced on straight courses only; the Instruction may be extended to include round courses in due course. The Instruction will come into force following the final Flat jockeys’ seminar in May.
Two-day bans and Foreign Group 1 races Following the situation which arose last year when Ray Cochrane incurred a two-day ban in Britain which ruled him out of riding in the Melbourne Cup, an amendment to the rule has been introduced which takes effect from the start of the Flat turf season. If the suspension is for two days or less and the dates of the suspension fall on a day when the rider is engaged to ride outside Britain in a Group 1 Pattern Race (or in a race that in the opinion of the Stewards of the Jockey Club is the equivalent of a Grade 1 race) the rider can apply to the Jockey Club for the period of suspension to be altered.
Notes for Editors:
(a) Rule 28 (xi) – Misconduct at the start:
Misconduct by a Rider at the start is an offence and the Starter may report to the Stewards any Rider whom he considers to have been guilty of such misconduct. Where, in the opinion of the Starter, the misconduct does not warrant a report to the Racecourse Stewards, the Starter will issue the Rider with a written warning regarding his behaviour. In the event of future misconduct at the start the Rider will be liable to be reported by the Starter to the Stewards.
For the avoidance of doubt misconduct includes the following:-
1. In races started from a Starting Gate, a rider causing or allowing
– his horse to be in contact in any way with the starting tape,
– his horse’s head to be on or over the starting tape;
2. A rider attempting to line up or taking position for the start before being instructed to do so by the Starter.
Save that the Starter will not report or issue a written warning to any Rider if, in his opinion, misconduct as detailed in Clause 1 above has been caused by circumstances beyond the Rider’s control.
Note: It is emphasised that the examples described above are not an exhaustive definition of misconduct as other circumstances may result in the Starter reporting or issuing a written warning to a Rider under this Rule.
(b) Marker Poles – The optimum distance of the poles from the start is 110 yards although it can be considerably less depending on the geography of the course. Starters have been instructed to remind jockeys of Marker Pole starts.
(c) Jockeys’ Seminars – The three dates for the seminars for Flat jockeys are Wednesday 5th April (Newbury), Thursday 20th April (Newmarket) and Tuesday 16th May (York). Attendance at one of the seminars is a condition of every jockey’s licence.
(d) Two-day suspensions – If a jockey is issued with a two day (or less) suspension in this country, the dates of the suspension will not be applied to days when Group or Grade 1 races are scheduled to be run in Britain.