- Trial to be restricted to flat All-Weather races
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have contacted owners and trainers to confirm that the three-month trial of short-notice race removal will commence from 1 January 2015 for races scheduled on All-Weather surfaces. The trial will test the practicalities of removing certain races which attract four or fewer declarations from the race programme.
Following an extensive consultation process in 2014, the trial is one of a number of initiatives announced in October to tackle the issue of small-field races. It is BHA’s stated objective to deliver competitive and attractive racing, and the increasing prominence of small-field races is putting this at risk.
Throughout the trial certain races which attract 10 entries or fewer will be flagged as ‘at risk’. If these races then receive four declarations or fewer, they may be subject to deletion. Races potentially affected will be: Handicaps, Classified Stakes, Selling and Claiming races, of Class 4 and below.
Ruth Quinn, BHA Director of Racing, said:
“Short-notice race removal could offer an effective and targeted method of avoiding small-field races being staged, as well as bolstering other races as horses intended for deleted races are hopefully redeployed elsewhere.
“The practice of removing races subsequent to declaration already exists in jurisdictions such as America and Australia. Based on the figures for the same period in 2014 we expect a relatively small number of races to be deleted between January and the end of March. The trial will test the methodology of short-notice race removal and we will assess the inconvenience factor for owners, trainers and sponsors to see whether this is a viable option to roll-out on a wider basis and to understand the issues that would need to be addressed to do so.
“Communication with horsemen will be the key to the trial being successful and we hope that the protocols put in place will be of assistance to this.”
From 1 January trainers will receive a text by 2.00pm on the day of entry informing them that a race in which they have a horse entered has been placed ‘at risk’, as well as a further reminder text on the morning of declaration.
On declaration day, if, after re-offering, an ‘at risk’ race has received four or fewer declarations, the race could be deleted, with the necessary automatic texts and emails associated with this action then being generated to the trainers concerned.
The entries for any at-risk races will be reviewed by BHA, to ascertain whether there are any other suitable opportunities, and/or any duplicate entries, when assessing whether there is a genuine need for the race to be staged. If deemed appropriate, BHA may apply discretion to retain the race, regardless of the number of declarations. This will be announced immediately after the re-offering period ends at 10.30am.
Notes to editors:
1. The trial will run from 1 January to 31 March 2015.
2. Races taking place on Saturday afternoons will be excluded.
3. Races which form part of a six-race card would only be abandoned if another race on the card divides.
4. No more than two horses per trainer will count in determining how many entries have been received.
5. Races re-opened at the entry closing stage will remain ‘at risk’, regardless of whether they receive any subsequent entries. A list of ‘at risk’ races will appear on the Urgent Race and Programme Information section of the BHA Racing Admin site as well as on britishhorseracing.com and on the ROA website.
6. 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.
7. The press release announcing BHA’s initiatives to address small-field races, including the proposal of this trial can be seen here: