The British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) Jump Pattern Committee has today announced the following changes to the British Jump Pattern and Listed races for the 2022/23 season.
There is also an update on the work of the Quality Jump Racing Review Group.
Update on the work of the quality jump racing review
Recommendations which emanated from the Quality Jump Racing Review Group (QJRRG) remain the subject of detailed discussions.
Specific considerations centre around working to strengthen the performance of British Jump racing at the top end of the pyramid by embracing certain changes to the programme whilst also seeing increased investment into the Jump Pattern.
BHA Director of International Racing and Racing Development, Ruth Quinn, said:
“Work is underway to strengthen the performance in the upper tier of British Jump racing. This is focusing specifically on the size and shape of the Pattern and the financial reward for owners for competing in our highest-level contests.“While at this stage the shape of the Pattern in 22/23 is likely to remain broadly similar, the aim and intention is to reach agreement on a more substantive package of measures, with changes to the race programme and increased investment into the Jump Pattern, in time for the 23/24 season. And, subject to discussions, we are still hopeful of introducing some adjustments to the race programme for the second half of this coming season. “Central to progress in this area is the need for the industry to agree to deliver significant prize-money increases in many of our principal Jump races. Discussions will continue amongst the sport’s stakeholders with a view to ensuring that Britain invests sufficiently in the top-end of our sport, under both codes. “A more comprehensive update on the work of the QJRRG will be shared in the Autumn, which will provide further details about the Jump Pattern race programme proposals.”
Confirmed changes for the 2022/23 season
GRADE 3 HANDICAPS RENAMED
From 1 October 2022, all British Grade 3 Handicaps will be renamed ‘Premier Handicaps’.The label ‘Grade 3’ has often been the cause of confusion for the sport’s customers, in terms of what role these major handicaps play within the overall framework of the Pattern. The new title is therefore considered a more appropriate description for Britain’s principal Jump handicaps, providing clearer, more logical signposting for racing’s fans. Premier Handicaps will continue to be afforded the same Black Type status that Grade 3 Handicaps receive at present.
LISTED HANDICAPS DISCONTINUED
Listed Handicaps will be removed from the race programme, with those meeting the necessary criteria promoted to Grade 2 or Premier (formerly Grade 3) Handicaps and the remainder downgraded to Class 2.
This change was originally due to come into effect for the 2020/21 season, with racecourses having been given a three-year notice period, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full list of changes is as follows:
Listed Handicaps to become Grade 2
- E.B.F. Mares’ Final Handicap Novices’ Chase (Cheltenham) – retaining its limited weight-range.
Listed Handicaps to become Premier Handicaps
- Bet365 Handicap Chase (Wetherby)
- Byrne Group Handicap Chase (Ascot)
- Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase (Wincanton)
- Gerry Feilden Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (Newbury)
- Rehearsal Handicap Chase (Newcastle)
- Silver Cup Handicap Chase (Ascot)
- Skybet Handicap Chase (Doncaster)
- Swinley Handicap Chase (Ascot)
- Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Sandown Park)
- Midlands Grand National Chase (Uttoxeter)
- Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (Ayr)
Listed Handicaps to become Class 2
- Summer Cup Handicap Chase (Uttoxeter)
- Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle (Ascot)
- Regulatory Finance Solutions Hurdle (Cheltenham)
- December Handicap Hurdle (Sandown Park)
- Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (Kempton Park)
- Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase (Ayr)
- Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Cheltenham)
PATTERN RACES DOWNGRADED
As part of the normal annual review of all Jump Pattern and Listed contests undertaken by the Jump Pattern Committee, the following races have not achieved the required Pattern Race parameters and therefore, under the Ground Rules, will be downgraded automatically:
- Finale Juvenile Hurdle, Grade 1 to Grade 2 (Chepstow)
- Summit Juvenile Hurdle, Grade 2 to Listed (Doncaster)
- Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, Grade 3 to Class 2 (Chepstow)
The Jump Pattern Committee noted an increase in the number of races missing their required parameters, with the current performance of some races, particularly in the juvenile hurdle division, increasing the risk of potential future downgrading.
The Committee recognises there is a compelling need to further consider what action is required to optimise the Pattern and Listed juvenile programme, meet the needs of the current horse population, and reduce the risk of another tranche of races being downgraded.
The Committee has identified the need for delivering long-term objectives to incentivise the development of a deeper pool of top juvenile horses in Britain, inspiring increased interest and investment in high-quality young hurdlers.
CLASS 1 AND CLASS 2 HANDICAP QUALIFICATION FOR NOVICES
From 1 October 2022, novice and juvenile horses will be required to run a minimum of four times (up from three) prior to competing in a Class 1 or Class 2 handicap hurdle race.
Increasing the minimum number of runs from three to four gives the handicappers more information on which to base their assessment, with the aim of boosting the fairness and competitiveness of our major handicaps.
No changes will be made to the qualification rules for Class 1 and Class 2 novice or juvenile handicap hurdle races, or to any Class 1 and Class 2 handicap steeple chases.
NOVICE SEASON EXTENDED
As communicated previously, hurdlers and chasers winning for the first time between 1 March and the end of the season in April will remain a novice over that code of obstacle until the end of November during the same year. This applies immediately and includes horses that won for the first time in March and April 2022.
JUNIOR NATIONAL HUNT DEVELOPMENT HURDLES
As announced earlier this year, the introduction of this new programme from Autumn 2022 aims to support the development of jump horses at a younger age.
The race programme has now been confirmed, with further clarification around the race conditions. More information is available here.
Early notice for 2023/24: National Hunt flat race changes
The following changes will be introduced for the start of the 2023/24 season:
1. A maximum of three runs permitted in National Hunt Flat races.
The only exceptions will be where:
the fourth run is in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, or the Grade 2 NHF at Aintree. Where the fourth run is in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, a further fifth run is permitted in the Grade 2 NHF at Aintree.
In the case of fillies and mares, a fourth run is permitted in either the Listed Mares’ NHF at Sandown in March or the Grade 2 Mares’ NHF race at Aintree. If the fourth run is in the Listed Mares’ NHF at Sandown in March then a further fifth run is permitted in the Grade 2 Mares’ NHF race at Aintree.
2. 6-year-olds no longer permitted to run in National Hunt Flat races after the final day of the Jump season (April 2023).
About the Jump Pattern committee
The Jump Pattern Committee advises and makes recommendations to the BHA Board on matters relating to maintaining and improving the programme of Jump Pattern and Listed races.
The membership of the Jump Pattern Committee, up until the end of June, was as follows:
Hopper Cavendish (C)Ed Arkell Richard Aston Anthony Bromley David Cleary Sam Hoskins Emma Lavelle Steve Mellish Amy Murphy Paul Nicholls Richard Norris Ruth Quinn
For more information, see the Committees page of the BHA website.