The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today informed trainers and owners that the Coral.co.uk Claiming Stakes at Southwell Racecourse on 25 March has been deleted from the race programme as part of the three-month trial of short-notice race removal on the All Weather.
The race received only four declarations and was deemed to meet the criteria for deletion as there are other potentially suitable races within a seven day period.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for BHA, said:
“This is only the second race that has been removed as part of the trial. That in itself is potentially informative about the effect that the trial might have had on the entries and declarations being received.
“The trial of short-notice race removal on the All Weather has been exactly that – a trial. Its objective is to ascertain whether a system which operates successfully in other nations could be applied in Britain.
“We anticipated that the occasions on which we implemented the removal of a race would cause a measure of inconvenience to those affected. During and after the trial we will take on board all of the feedback we receive from horsemen, racecourses and sponsors. This feedback will be considered alongside the data which has arisen from the trial in assessing our options for tackling the issue of small fields.”
The short-notice race removal trial has seen 63 races in January, February and March designated as “at risk”, i.e. receiving 10 entries or fewer, up until 16 March.
Of these races, only seven have received fewer than five declarations.
Of these seven races, this is only the second to be deleted. The other five were run, three because it was felt there was a genuine need for the race to take place owing to a lack of suitable alternative races, and two because the race in question was part of a six-race card, which made the races ineligible for deletion.
The average number of declarations for “at risk” races has been 6.44.
To the end of last month the average field size in Flat racing was 8.36, compared to 8.15 in the same period in 2014.
Across all codes the total number of entries were down by 133 (-0.5%) but declarations were up by 285 (+2.6%) suggesting there has been a stronger entry-to-declaration conversion rate.
Notes to editors:
1. The other potentially suitable opportunities within the next seven days are:
March 26: Wolverhampton – 1m 4f Class 4 Handicap
March 27: Lingfield – 1m 5f Claiming Stakes
March 27: Wolverhampton – 2m Class 4 Handicap
March 28: Kempton – 1m 3f Class 2 and Class 4 Handicaps
April 1: Chelmsford City – 1m 5f Class 2 Handicap
(The ratings of the horses in the removed race ranged from 81 to 91).
2. Details of the various initiatives to address small field sizes, and the early signs of the impact they have had on field sizes, can be found here: stage.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/february-field-sizes-maintain-positive-trend/ and here: stage.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/encouragement-drawn-january-field-sizes/ .
3. The trial has run from 1 January and concludes on 31 March 2015.
4. Throughout the trial certain races which attract 10 entries or fewer have been flagged as ‘at risk’. If these races then receive four declarations or fewer, they may be subject to deletion.
5. Races potentially affected are: Handicaps, Classified Stakes, Selling and Claiming races, of Class 4 and below.
6. Races taking place on Saturday afternoons will be excluded.
7. Races which form part of a six-race card would only be abandoned if another race on the card divides.
8. No more than two horses per trainer will count in determining how many entries have been received.
9. There were 140 races with fewer than 11 entries in January/February/March 2014. 16 of these races resulted in four or fewer declarations. Excluding Saturdays, Class 2/3 races and developmental races this resulted in 11 races which would have been eligible for deletion under this system.