From Wednesday, 30th March 2011, starting stalls at racecourses that have been classified as right-handed tracks will be numbered in ascending order from right to left if you look through the stalls from behind. Previously, starting stalls at all tracks were numbered from left to right from behind the stalls.
The change in practice will be effective for all races, including those run on a straight course, at these racecourses. The Clerk of the Course at each of these courses will continue to adopt their current practices in where they position the starting stalls on the track for races run over a straight course. Key publications which make available draw statistics have been consulted and advise that they will have amended their existing statistics so as they will maintain their accuracy.
Consultation has also taken place with the Racecourse Association, National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys Association, who have all expressed their support for this change in the numbering of the starting stalls.
The courses affected by this change are:
- Ascot – first meeting Wednesday 27th April
- Beverley – first meeting Wednesday 6th April
- Carlisle – first meeting Monday 23rd May
- Folkestone – first meeting Monday 4th April
- Goodwood – first meeting Saturday 30th April
- Hamilton – first meeting Sunday 1st May
- Kempton – first meeting Saturday 2nd April
- Leicester – first meeting Thursday 31st March
- Musselburgh – first meeting Friday 1st April
- Newmarket Rowley Mile and July Courses – first meeting Wednesday 13th April (Rowley Mile)
- Ripon – first meeting Thursday 7th April
- Salisbury – first meeting Sunday 1st May
- Sandown – first meeting Saturday 23rd April
- Windsor– first meeting Monday 4th April
Also coming into effect on 30 March is a new Rule of Racing that gives power to the Raceday Stewards to declare a horse a non-runner after the race has been run. This provision will only apply to Flat races and only in certain circumstances. Examples are when starting stalls do not open but false start isn’t called, or if a jockey is not on the horse when the stalls are released.
Consequently, bets on such horse(s) which have palpably lost all chance at the start will be fully refunded to punters and, where applicable, Rule 4 deductions would apply to all other bets.
As the Rules of Racing currently stand, all horses in the stalls are deemed runners as soon as the Starter starts a race, unless a) a false start is called or b) there is then a void race for whatever reason.
This new provision will not apply in cases where:
a) The gates open properly but the horse chooses to plant at the start, be fractious or refuse to race; or
b) The gates open a split second after the rest of the field – an existing protocol exists for such circumstances.
Other initiatives which will also come into effect fully from 30 March:
1. Loading Horses Riderless into Starting Stalls
2. Loading Certain Horses by Reversing into Stalls or with Front Gate Open
3. Leaving a Starting Stall Closest to Rail Vacant Where Possible
4. Permitting flexibility on Number of Stalls Handlers in Exceptional Raceday Circumstances
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation, said:
“These initiatives can only be positive for British Racing. I appreciate there was concern over the renumbering but it makes sense to have all stalls numbered in the same manner and, with the help from key publications, we will have ensured that draw statistics will retain their accuracy and relevance.
“The palpable non-runner Rule is only fair and good news to punters and the other starting initiatives will hopefully ensure less stress at the start for horses and fewer withdrawals.”