18 Sep 2002 Pre-2014 Releases

Jockey Club & Turf Club Meeting On Interference Rules

Published: 18 September 2002

Christopher Hodgson, Chairman of the Jockey Club Disciplinary Committee, said today that he welcomed the opportunity presented by this morning’s meeting with Irish Turf Club representatives to further discuss the benefits of harmonising interference rules. He stated: “The proposals are still in formation, and require further consultation with relevant committees prior to a decision by our Regulatory Committee in November.”

In addition to the obvious advantages harmonisation of the interference rules on either side of the Irish Sea would bring, Christopher Hodgson also identified a number of other benefits the changes would produce. In particular, in most instances the outcome of enquiries involving interference would be announced more quickly as the proposed rule would be simpler and more transparent to apply. Furthermore he said, “It was likely that the number of demotions or disqualifications would be marginally reduced without affecting racecourse safety.”

The Turf Club representatives were Gordon Holmes, Turf Club Steward, Frank Clarke, Senior Counsel and Peter Matthews, Senior Stewards’ Secretary. Gordon Holmes said he greatly welcomed the progress made: “Racecourse safety has always been a priority of the Jockey Club and we for our part must reflect this.”

He added: “Both bodies have had a considerable input into the new proposals which will hopefully benefit racing as a whole.”

18th September 2002

Notes for Editors:

1. The harmonisation initiative was started by the Jockey Club in 1997. Initially it involved Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. As little progress was being made, it was reduced to bilateral harmonisation with Ireland only: mainland Europe may look at it more closely when it is up and running.

2. Importantly, both Britain and Ireland give the benefit of the doubt when determining the result following Interference to the horse first past the post, whereas in continental Europe, the reverse is the case i.e. the benefit of doubt goes to the sufferer.

3. Today’s meeting is the fourth Anglo-Irish meeting on interference in the last two years. Jockey Club Officials have been racing with Irish Stewards on two occasions and Irish Officials regularly spend days in Britain racing with our Stewards.

4. There is still a need for internal consultation within Britain prior to the proposal going before the Regulatory Committee in November. The Regulatory Committee must give its decision before it can be integrated into the Rules of Racing. If it is, it is likely to come into force on 1st May 2003 after the Local Stewards’ Seminars.