The British Horseracing Board has agreed a way forward on a proposal which will attempt to prevent a small number of maidens gaining a disproportionate advantage when they step up in trip as three-year-olds.
Earlier this year the Board rejected an initial Jockey Club proposal to prevent maidens from running in a handicap at a distance more than two furlongs further than they had yet attempted.
The Board decided that this proposal was too restrictive and would lead to many more horses being forced to run uncompetitively as three-year-olds.
However, following further discussions between BHB and the Jockey Club, a revised proposal has now been approved.
From 1st January 2005, no three-year-old maiden will be qualified to run in a handicap or Classified Stakes of 12 furlongs or further unless it has:
(a) either been placed second, third or fourth in a race; OR
(b) run at least twice in a race of a mile or further as a two-year-old; OR
(c) run at least once over 10 furlongs or further as a three-year-old.
BHB Communications Manager Alan Delmonte said: “The Board was not convinced that the original proposal was desirable, and would be particularly tough on a two-year-old that had run more than once over a mile but couldn’t immediately run over a mile and a half as a three-year-old.
“The revised proposal preserves the aim of addressing concerns that a small number of horses were able to win over longer distances because their low handicap marks were achieved, quite legitimately, from racing over shorter distances. At the same time it won’t force many other horses to be raced at distances well short of their optimum as three-year-olds.
“But the door will be closed on that relatively small number of horses who finish well down the field in all their early races before stepping up significantly in trip.”