Promising signs amongst horse population for first quarter of 2015

08 Apr 2015 Racing/Fixtures
  • Highest Q1 figure for Flat horses in training for five years
  • Jump horses in training also shows modest rise

There were promising signs regarding the number of horses in training in British Racing in figures published today by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), especially amongst the Flat population.

The figures show that there was an average of 8,914 Flat horses in training throughout the first three months of 2015, a rise of 241 (3%) compared to 2014 and the highest figure in five years.

There were also positive signs amongst the Jump population which showed a more modest rise of 55 (1%) from 5,026 to 5,081, however this represented a reversal in the trend towards decline in the last five years.

The overall average figure for horses in training stood at 14,630, up by 255 (2%) and the highest figure since 2011.

Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the BHA, said:

“The news that the population of horses in training has risen on the Flat and steadied over Jumps is promising. We have made no secret that addressing the issue of small-field races  currently affecting the sport is of critical importance.

“The range of initiatives we have implemented, in particular in the traditional ‘pinch-point’ period of January to March, seem to be having a positive impact, but alongside that a healthy horse population is essential if we are to meet our long-term objectives for the sport.

“There remains a great deal of work to be done, but we can build on the positive signs from the first quarter of this year as we look to move forwards in addressing this issue.”

Notes to Editors:

1. The figures are:

Code Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Q1 2013 Q1 2014 Q1 2015
Flat 8,657 8,394 8,500 8,673 8,914
Jump 5,461 5,180 5,182 5,026 5,081
Dual 691 656 600 677 635
All 14,810  14,229  14,282  14,375  14,630


2. The figures are calculated by taking a snapshot of the horses in training population on 15th of each month. These figures are then averaged to produce the Q1 figure.

3. Details of field sizes can be found here for February ( and January (

4. The next set of field size figures including data from March will be published after the Grand National meeting, via the BHA website.

5. The full list of initiatives already announced to address the issue of small-field races is as follows:

  • Targeted removal of 70 All Weather races in January to March and rebalancing the Flat programme;
  • A limit of, on average, 6.5 races being staged on All Weather cards in the January to March period;
  • General restrictions on the number of races per fixture, including specific restrictions at certain times of the year;
  • A trial of short-notice race removal for certain races which achieve fewer than five declarations in January to March;
  • Targeted removal of 100 Jump races, in particular Chases, from pinch points in January to March and September to November;
  • Through establishment of targets for field sizes and strengthening the use of data, BHA – in conjunction with racecourses – will deliver a more optimised race programme;
  • A formal review of the entry, declaration and non-runner processes;
  • The use of £4.2m of the bookmakers’ Additional Voluntary Contribution Fund to ensure that most Class 2 – 6 races will pay down to at least 6th place (8th place for Class 2 races);
  • The programming of valuable series of Sunday races, such as the recently announced Veterans’ Steeple Chase Series, again using the Bookmakers’ Additional Voluntary Contribution Fund;
  • Extending the declaration window from 10am until 10:30am for all races with fewer than eight declarations (previous thresholds varied from four to eight declarations, depending on race type).