The BHA confirms changes to Jump race distance measurements implemented from 1 June

06 May 2015 Racecourse

  • In conjunction with the RCA every British Jump racecourse has been professionally surveyed and re-measured
  • Jump races will be advertised using exact distances accurate to nearest yard from 1 June, providing greater accuracy for betting customers and participants
  • Methodology implemented reflects that used for Flat courses

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in conjunction with the Racecourse Association (RCA), has today published the results of a project which has concluded with the introduction of a new methodology for the measurement of Jump race distances. The project was instigated to achieve greater accuracy in Jump race distances and reflect the methodology already used at Flat tracks.

Jump races were previously measured along the mid-point of the course using a surveyors wheel, but under the agreed new methodology have been measured along a line 2yds off the innermost running rail position and professionally surveyed to the nearest yard.

The result is that, as of the implementation date of 1 June 2015, all Jump race distances will be advertised using both the traditional description – rounded to the nearest half furlong – alongside a new, exact ‘baseline’ distance, described to the exact yardage.

The change in methodology means that, in many cases, race distance descriptions will be shorter when compared to the old system of measurement. This is not to say that all races have previously been incorrectly advertised, rather that the new methodology used to measure Jump races, using an inner line rather than middle of the track naturally leads to race descriptions being shorter.

In light of the new measuring system some racecourses have amended race distances or will move starts to reflect advertised race distances. A full list of amended race distances will be available on the ‘Regulation of Racecourses’ page and the ‘Racecourse’ page in the Resource Centre on and for racing professionals on the Racing Admin website. They will also be published in the Racing Calendar on 7 May.

Jamie Stier, BHA Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation, said:

“This project was instigated to bring the measurement of Jump races in line with the methodology already used to measure Flat races, and ensure greater accuracy of Jump race distances.

“This new methodology will improve the quality and quantity of data we provide our participants and the increased accuracy will be of benefit to trainers, jockeys, owners and betting customers. It has been an extensive project and not without cost to racecourses, so we thank them for their involvement.”

Caroline Davies, Racecourse Services Director for the RCA, said:

“The RCA and racecourses were in absolute agreement that the methodology for measuring jump courses should be brought into line with that for flat racing. We recognise that accurate and consistent race distance information, and the availability of it, is an important foundation for all race data provided to racing’s customers and supporters.

“For jump racing in particular, it is essential that Clerks of the Course have the scope to move running rails so as to provide the best possible racing surface especially during periods of inclement weather. Having a base measurement means that changes to race distances can be advertised more accurately, particularly if late changes to the racing line are necessary due to dolling out.”

The revised measuring methodology using an inner line rather than centre line means that the advertised distances of longer races will be more affected by the re-measuring. The greatest impact is on the 4m 3 ½f race at Market Rasen which will now be described as 4m 2f, while the Crabbie’s Grand National will now be advertised as 4m 2 ½f and will still remain the longest race in Britain.

Rule (F)41.4 requires the minimum distance of a Hurdle/Chase race to be no less than two miles. Until now, on the old methodology, courses that measure at least 1m 7f and 166yds satisfy this requirement as they are rounded to the nearest half furlong. Under the new methodology there are 11 courses with a minimum trip whose description is slightly less than two miles. All options for repositioning the starts in question have been explored, however where that hasn’t been possible, the racecourses in question have been granted dispensation from this Rule on the basis that the historical use of the start has been approved.

Jamie Stier added:

“Where dispensation has been granted it is important to note that the distances of the races in question have not changed – they will be run over the exact same course as previously – nor is this an indication that the races were previously run over the wrong distance. Simply the new methodology, which follows a tighter line, naturally means that the advertised distances will be shorter.

“Where this revised distance was less than two miles alterations, if possible, were made to start positions, however in the 11 cases this was not possible, so the only options were to delete the races from the programme or provide exemptions to the Rule. It was felt that providing dispensation was the most appropriate course of action.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The full list of Jump race distance alterations and start position movements can be found here.
  1. All the changes will also be published in an insert in the Racing Calendar on 7 May and the Racing Admin site will list the changes in the ‘Urgent Race and Programme Information’ page.
  1. Until now Jump race distances have been measured along the mid-point of the respective Chase and Hurdle courses using a Surveyor’s wheel, which has accuracy of ±1% (this can produce a discrepancy of ±52.8yds over 3 miles). All distances were then rounded to the nearest half furlong.
  1. At the time of publication Wetherby racecourse have not completed their survey due to their racing schedule. Once the survey is completed any distance changes/start movements will be updated on the various websites. Cheltenham’s Cross Country course will be re-measured in the coming weeks.
  1. The list of courses and race distances with dispensation for Rule (F)41.4 are:

Ascot 2m Hurdle – 1m 7f 152yds

Ayr 2m Chase – 1m 7f 112yds

Catterick 2m Chase – 1m 7f 145yds, 2m Hurdle – 1m 7f 156yds

Haydock Park 2m Chase (Inner) – 1m 7f 157yds, 2m Hurdle (Normal and Brush) – 1m 7f 144yds

Hexham 2m Chase – 1m 7f 133yds

Huntingdon 2m Hurdle – 1m 7f 121yds

Leicester 2m Hurdle – 1m7f 113yds

Musselburgh 2m Hurdle – 1m 7f 124yds

Sandown 2m Chase –   1m 7f 119yds

Southwell 2m Chase – 1m 7f 153yds, 2m Hurdle – 1M 7f 153yds

Wincanton 2m Chase – 1m 7f 149yds, 2m Hurdle – 1m 7f 65yds