Resumption update: Race programme and planning

13 Aug 2020 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures

The latest resumption update, which includes:

  • Race programme and planning
  • Raceday restrictions – Dr Jerry Hill
  • PPE and face coverings reimbursement scheme
  • Vaccination App changes
  • Stalls Tests
  • Requirements for athletes/staff travelling from non-exempt countries
  • Foreign trainer runners

Race programme and planning 

September’s Flat race programme has now been published on Racing Admin. 

Several early closing races have been included in the schedule, which can be viewed here in closing order. 

We expect to publish the rest of the race programme for 2020 by the end of August.  

Additional Flat opportunities in August 

Following feedback from trainers, additional races have been programmed in the coming weeks: 

19 August        Bath                 8f 3yo 46-65 Handicap
20 August        Windsor           10f 3yo 61-80 Handicap
22 August        Chelmsford      10f 3-5yo Novice Median Auction
24 August        Ayr                   8f 3yo+ Maiden
25 August        Catterick          14f 3yo+ 46-60 Handicap
29 August        Redcar            7f 3yo+ 46-62 Handicap 

Full race conditions for all races are available on Racing Admin. 

Why raceday restrictions must stay, for now – Dr Jerry Hill 

In a blog published on the BHA website, the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, explains the importance of following British racing’s protocols for behind closed doors racing, which are in place to keep everyone safe on the racecourse. 

He emphasises that the infection control measures are just as necessary as they were when racing resumed in June, and addresses the question of why, when other sectors of the economy have seen restrictions loosened, racing isn’t yet able to go further in easing controls. 

Dr Hill asks everyone on the racecourse to remember the three steps set out in last week’s resumption update to help keep everyone safe:  

  1. Follow all the social distancing requirements when you attend racing, whether you’re in the ‘green zone’ for participants or the owners’ area 
  1. Do not cross from one zone to another 
  1. Please let the BHA’s Medical Team know if there’s a positive case. 

 PPE and face coverings reimbursement scheme 

Racecourses and participants who purchased PPE and / or face coverings for use on raceday can now apply to reclaim their costs via the racing industry’s reimbursement scheme. 

The reimbursement scheme is only possible thanks to significant funding from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), which has committed £1.5 million to support the process. 

To apply for reimbursement, please download the reclaim form from the COVID-19 section of the BHA website (bottom of the page), then complete and return it to the BHA via email to PPE@britishhorseracing.com. Please ensure that you include copies of the invoice / supporting documents from the PPE / face covering provider. 

To download the reclaim form, and for more information about the reimbursement scheme, please go to the PPE and face coverings reimbursement scheme section at the bottom of the COVID-19 page on the BHA website. 

Vaccination App – important changes from 19 August 

Thank you to trainers who have been uploading horse vaccination records to the Weatherbys Vaccination App. This enables the information to be validated by the BHA prior to raceday. 

Please continue to ensure that you have submitted a valid historical vaccination record and supporting passport pictures for approval for all horses, well in advance of making an entry. Failure to submit vaccination records will result in the horse not being able to race. This is in line with the Vaccinations Code (Section 4). 

From 19 August, the current reminder and follow-up system after an entry is made to advise trainers about any outstanding actions will stop. If the vaccination records are not up to date, the entry will be removed.  

Additionally, from the same date it will be necessary to ensure vaccination records are uploaded and up to date on the app when the horse is registered as being in training. 

Once you have uploaded the records, you will receive an email confirming that the information has been submitted. This is a confirmation of receipt only, and the information will need to be cleared by the BHA Veterinary Team before it is visible on the app. Trainers will continue to receive an email to confirm uploaded vaccinations record have been approved (or declined if the records do not comply with the rules.) 

If you have any queries about the uploading process itself, please contact Weatherbys on +44 (0)1933 440077 or vaccapp@weatherbys.co.uk. 

Stalls Tests 

Stalls Tests are currently available on a limited basis, including at courses where stabling capacity and staffing allows. However, to provide additional opportunities for trainers, arrangements for Stall Tests have been adjusted to allow for a maximum of 2 at fixtures with 9 race cards. This is at the discretion of courses, as some are not in a position to offer this. 5 Stalls Tests will continue to be available on an 8-race card, with none on a 10-race card. 

For Stalls Tests on raceday, trainers must complete the following actions no less than 48 hours prior to the fixture: 

  • Contact the Clerk of the Course to register interest in completing a stalls test 
  • Email the BHA (covid19attendees@britishhorseracing.com) to ensure that stable staff involved with the stalls tests are registered to attend the fixture. The online medical questionnaire (step 2 of the screening process) will be emailed to each attendee 

In addition, due to the ongoing challenges of putting on Stalls Tests when there are more races than usual on a card, the penalty structures in the Stalls Test Code have been altered and are set out below to ease the burden on trainers given the current limited opportunities. Effective immediately and until further notice the following applies: 

If a horse is required to complete a Stalls Test, the trainer must pay: 

  • £650 if the horse fails the Stalls Test within 7 days of the referral 
  • no financial penalty if the horse fails the Stalls Test 8 days or more after the referral 

If a horse is required to complete a Stalls Test following its second referral, the Trainer must pay: 

  • £1,300 if the horse fails within 7 days of the referral 
  • no financial penalty if the horse fails 8 days or more after the referral. 

Requirements for athletes / staff from non-exempt countries 

Current UK Government guidance allows for international elite athletes and essential support staff from non-travel corridor countries to participate in specified sports events without having to isolate for 14 days, subject to meeting requirements set out by the sport / event organiser. 

 The ONLY events to which this exemption applies for the time being are: 

  • Yorkshire Ebor Festival, York, 19-22 August 
  • St Leger Festival, Doncaster, 9-12 September 
  • Dubai Future Champions Festival, Newmarket, 9-10 October 
  • QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot, 17 October 
  • Showcase Meeting, Cheltenham, 23-24 October 

British racing has updated its requirements for international athletes / staff traveling under the elite athlete exemption policy to help safeguard our domestic industry from risks associated with international travel. This now includes the requirement to undertake a laboratory testing programme.  

The full guidance is available to read here. 

Update on foreign trained runners 

Under the current arrangements, foreign trained runners are only permitted in Class 1 races and Heritage Handicaps. 

This approach will be considered by the Industry’s Racing Group in early September, which will involve assessing any potential risks associated with the increased movement of people from overseas, should foreign trained runners be permitted in more races.