Resumption of racing update

09 Jun 2020 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures

This update provides details of further changes and clarifications, as well as more information relating to this summer’s race programme.

Race programme

The Flat and Jump programmes for the month of July are now available as an Excel document and can be found here:

Work is now underway to create this programme in the Racing Admin system and is expected to be concluded by 19th June.  The digital version of the calendar will continue to be produced and will be available shortly afterwards.

We are conscious that the timescales involved in recent weeks have made forward planning difficult and will commence work on the August programme immediately after this in order to ensure that it is finalised on the Racing Admin system by the end of June.

The programme of Pattern and Listed races for July is starting to revert to something close to normal, as it will for August onwards. However, the changes to highlight include the following:

  • The Surrey and Princess Elizabeth – both to be retained and run at Epsom on Derby day (4 July), with the Surrey changed to 3+ and the Princess Elizabeth changed to 3yos only (fillies)
  • As a result, the City Plate and Distaff have been cancelled
  • The Group 3 Henry II will be run on Eclipse day (5 July) in place of the Listed Esher Stakes over the same distance (2m)
  • The Listed Marygate (5f 2yo f) will be run on 9 July at York
  • In order to ensure the ongoing education of our top-class 3yos, the Dante and Musidora will also be run at York on 9 July, despite the fact that they will obviously not be acting as Derby/Oaks trials this year but will simply be Group 2 and Group 3 targets (respectively) in their own right
  • The Listed National Stakes (5f 2yo) has been rescheduled for 16 July at Sandown
  • The 12f Listed Tapster Stakes (usually run at Goodwood in May) will be run at Haydock on 17 July
  • York’s John Smith’s Cup meeting will be staged a week later, with the Silver Cup, Summer Stakes and City Walls therefore being run on 18/19 July
  • In addition, the Listed 7f 3yo King Charles II Stakes (usually run at Newmarket) has been rescheduled and will be run at York on 19 July
  • The Aphrodite will be run at Newbury this year, still on 18 July
  • It is also worth flagging at this stage that the Listed 14f Further Flight Stakes (usually run at Nottingham in April) will now be run at Newmarket on 1 August

We are also aware that financial constraints on the volume of races that we can stage have meant that the programme for lower rated horses is quite restricted. Having announced additional fixtures last week for the lower rated horse, we have now added the below races to the programme in the north so as to ensure that opportunities are available before they commence.

Updated guidance

Some minor revisions have been made to our Guidelines and Operating Procedures, to reflect recent developments and latest government guidance. No major changes have been made to the processes and protocols, but minor tweaks have been made to provide additional information and clarity. The amendments include:

  • Links to “stage 3” government guidance relating to the return of domestic competition behind closed doors
  • Amendments to data protection and opt-in wording, to reflect government guidance
  • Updated information regarding international runners, as communicated last week
  • Gradual reintroduction of stalls tests – see below
  • Minor clarifications relating to: Jockeys’ face coverings, vaccination app, and additional information to assist with the declaration process, including helpdesk contact details

Version 2 of the guidance can be viewed here.

Stalls tests

As referenced in the original guidance, the feasibility of conducting stalls tests on gallops, and the potential for resuming normal raceday stalls tests, has been reviewed after one week of racing. The BHA has started to arrange stalls test opportunities, around available resources and current raceday stable capacity at scheduled fixtures.

With help from the Jockey Club, we have been able to confirm an afternoon stalls test session at Newmarket on Wednesday 10 June. We are working with other racecourses to identify further opportunities and these will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Stalls tests will be conducted in line with the medical protocols for race fixtures, with all pre-health screening, temperature checking and social distancing measures in place, irrespective of whether the stalls test take place on raceday, or on a non-raceday at regional gallop venue.

Changes to current jockey restrictions

We are making some changes to the jockey restrictions, based on further assessment of risk and logistical factors:

  • 5lb claiming apprentice jockeys to become eligible to ride in races from Monday 15 June
  • 7lb claiming apprentice jockeys to become eligible to ride in races from Monday 22 June

Eligibility criteria for Jump fixtures are currently being assessed and will be confirmed in a further update later this week.

Safety factors and field limits

Heritage handicaps will revert to normal safety factors (or other field limit determined by racecourses, based on their own risk assessments) from Monday 15 June

For all other races, the maximum field limit will increase from 12 runners to 14 runners from Monday 15 June.

Nursery programme

We can now confirm that the 2020 nursery programme will begin on 30 July at Glorious Goodwood.

The qualification rules for nurseries have been temporarily amended in line with the interim measures for 3yo and upwards, and are now as follows:

Nursery Handicaps

  1. A horse trained in Great Britain shall be eligible for a Handicap Rating to run in a Nursery Handicap if the horse is a two-year-old and has run in:

11.1 three or more Flat Races under the rules of any Recognised Racing Authority, with at least two of those runs being in Great Britain and/or Ireland; or

11.2 two Flat Races in Great Britain and/or Ireland, having won its first Race and been placed in the first four in its second Race; or

11.3 two Flat Races in Great Britain, having:

(a) finished in the first six places on both starts, or

(b) won its first Race.


We recognise that racehorse owners will currently be finding it frustrating that they are unable to watch their horse run on course and industry leaders remain committed to ensuring that owners are able to attend racedays at the earliest appropriate opportunity. We appreciate the support and loyalty owners continue to show and as soon as we have more details on the return of owners to the racecourse we will be in contact directly.

In the meantime, a number of resources are available on the ROA website to help owners view a horse’s race and racecards, along with details of the on-course photographer. Trainers (and their representatives) can also help owners get more from the raceday, using the handy filming guide.

For more information, see here.

Face coverings

Face coverings should be worn by anyone who is not identified as needing certified/higher grade PPE (e.g. medical and cleaning staff) and who is anticipated to breach social distancing repeatedly as a result of their role in racing.

Face coverings are mandatory in the parade ring (and all personnel must put them on before entering) and should be worn whenever an individual may reasonably expect to breach social distancing. When purchasing a face covering, participants are asked to either:

  • Order directly from the BHA’s preferred supplier, CHB Medical, by completing this online order form. When placing an order, we would ask you to order the product recommended by the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser viewed here (reusable Facemask with PM2.5 Filter);
  • Or, if using an alternative supplier, choose a similar dark blue/black reusable alternative (this can also include a dark coloured plain snood/neck gaiter).

All Participants are asked to avoid using disposable coverings and ones which have a medical appearance unless there is no other alternative.

More information on face coverings is included in the full guidelines and operating procedures for behind closed doors racing.