The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed changes to the process for withdrawing horses on the racecourse designed to make the procedure more secure.
Following an incident at Nottingham on 3 October 2018 where the incorrect horse was withdrawn when at the start changes have been made to try and minimise the risk of a recurrence.
All withdrawals which take place on the racecourse will now have to be ratified by the Stipendiary Steward before final confirmation is given and the decision is broadcast. The Chief Steward will fulfil this duty from 2019 onwards when the new Stewarding model is implemented.
This has changed from the previous system whereby the Clerk of the Scales – who would not necessarily have had access to footage of the loading procedure or events taking place prior to the start of the race – was responsible for confirming any withdrawals.
The new process has been trialled at a number of different courses in recent weeks and has been officially active for all races in Great Britain since 1 November.
Going forward it will apply to all races in Great Britain under both codes and in all situations where there is an on-course withdrawal, such as when horses are unruly or refuse to enter the stalls or on the advice of a vet.
Emma Marley, Head of Racecourse Operations at the BHA, said:
“Following the wrong horse being withdrawn in early October our focus has been on making the necessary changes to make the on-course process for withdrawing horses as secure as it can be.
“We are acutely aware of the impact incidents like the one at Nottingham can have not only on connections and participants but on bettors, fans and the sport’s wider reputation.
“The new procedure aims to minimize the chances of another episode of human error occurring, and we will continue to monitor the process closely as it beds in over the coming weeks and months.”