The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) have today confirmed an extension to the trial of new Jump race start procedures, which will now run until the end of the 2020/21 Jump season.
The trial was originally due to run from 5 October until 31 December 2020 and involved a change to starting procedures whereby if there is an initial false start in any jump race, runners will be permitted one more attempt at lining up and approaching the tapes at a walk/jig-jog, rather than immediately reverting to a standing start, unless they do not go back as far as instructed.
If the second attempt at starting the race also results in a false start then the third attempt will be made by standing start. The proposed adjustments to the procedures were developed by the BHA and PJA and the data collected thus far has been encouraging. Since the trial started:
October – 2 false starts from 393 races or 0.50% (compared with 0.60% in 2019)
November – 4 false starts from 535 races or 0.74% (compared with 0.86% in 2019)
December – 4 false starts from 419 races or 0.95% (compared with 1.41% in 2019)
Importantly it was noted that no rule breaches were committed in relation to the start by jockeys during the trial and that in all of the above cases a walk-in start was successful second time round. No standing starts were required during the three month trial.
It has been agreed that the trial should be extended to the end of the 2020/21 Jump season to cover the major Spring festivals and allow more data to be collected.