Update on resumption of racing planning

22 May 2020 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures

Fixture list and race planning

British racing continues to plan for resumption on Monday 1 June, in line with the UK Government’s provisional timetable for the return of sport behind closed doors.

Last week we published a race programme for the first 8 days of racing following resumption (1-8 June). The races and conditions are available to view on the BHA’s Racing Administration website.

To provide greater clarity for racecourses and support all industry participants in your own planning, we have today published a provisional fixture list that covers the period from 9 June to the end of August 2020.

Please note that many fixtures, including Glorious Goodwood and The York Ebor meetings, remain unchanged from the original schedule.

In addition, fixtures in Scotland and Wales have been provisionally scheduled (denoted by TBC in the provisional fixture list) but will only be confirmed following further consultation with the relevant Governments on timescales for potential resumption. We remain in direct discussion with both the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

As you will be aware, we have also been working to develop a full race programme for the remainder of June. We will publish this on Monday 25 May. This will include the date, location and conditions of all races scheduled for 9-30 June.

We had originally hoped to complete and publish the June race programme this week, however with elements of this still to be finalised, doing so would have provided racecourses and participants with an incomplete picture of how the provisional programme will look – and one that would in all likelihood need to be amended subsequent to publication.

However, we can confirm that the race programme will include additional 2yo races for the first 8 days following resumption. These can be viewed here and are shown on the Racing Admin website. In addition, we will start prioritising 3yo novice and maiden races towards the middle of the second week (w/c 9 June).

Earlier today, Ascot Racecourse unveiled the Order of Running for its behind closed doors Royal Ascot meeting, which is scheduled for 16 – 20 June. This outlined several alterations to this year’s Royal meeting, which will include six additional races, with seven races staged on the first four days and eight on the final card. More information on field sizes is provided below, but please note that all races at Royal Ascot, including the handicaps, will be restricted to a maximum of 24 runners.

Additionally, elimination from Royal Ascot races for 2yos will be based purely on previous finishing positions, with priority given in the following order:

  1. Horses that have won an Open Novice or Maiden race
  2. Horses that have won a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  3. Horses that have finished second in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  4. Horses that have finished second in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  5. Horses that have finished third in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  6. Horses that have finished third in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  7. Horses that have finished fourth in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  8. Horses that have finished fourth in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  9. Unraced horses
  10. Horses that have run but have not been placed in the first four

The following list includes other important points to help you with planning, some of which have been included in previous updates, and other that have been finalised over the past few days:

72-hour declarations will be in place for all races from 1 June until further notice. This will ensure all participants are able to complete the necessary preparatory steps between declaration and attendance at the racecourse, including the compulsory pre-entry health screening (details of which will be communicated to the industry in the coming days). We appreciate that the use of 72-hour declarations will create additional challenges for trainers and will revert to 48-hour declarations once it is clear this is viable.

Field sizes – the following will apply:

  • All non-Pattern and Listed races will be limited to 12 runners per race. This reflects risk modelling that indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer in non-Pattern and Listed races reduces the risk to participants on the track. Even though more races have been programmed at each fixture than would normally be the case, we recognise that this will increase competition for places. This will be reviewed at the end of the first week of racing.
  • Pattern and Listed races will not be limited to 12 runners. These races will be subject to the existing maximum field size limits, or any other limit imposed by the racecourse at which the races are to be held. Again, this decision is based on risk modelling, which indicates that Pattern and Listed races are less likely to involve an incident.

Handicapping – with the start of the season being delayed, we will help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs.

  • A horse will be eligible for a handicap rating if it (i) finishes in the first six places on both of its first two starts, or (ii) has completed two starts having won first time out. We can also confirm that the handicap rating for any horse that has, as a result of either of these changes, become eligible to be rated, will be published within the ‘Official Ratings’ section of the BHA website.
  • In addition, the current rules state that in order to run in a handicap with a Total Race Value of £45,000 or more, a horse must have run at least three times. Given the lack of opportunity for a 3yo to have a third run this year before some such handicaps take place, this rule will not be enforced until 1 July. This means that relaxation of the qualification rules outlined above will now also apply to high value handicaps until the end of June.

British-based horses – there will be no regional restrictions in place for British-based horses on resumption. However, the revised fixture list provides a good geographical spread of fixtures to maximise opportunities for horses across the country.

International runners – international runners will only be permitted to run initially in the three Group 1 races taking place in Britain during the first fortnight (Coronation Cup, 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas). Under our current planning, international runners will be able to participate in all Pattern and Listed races taking place in Britain from 15 June 2020 onwards. We are also assessing the implications of this evening’s announcement from the UK Government on quarantine measures for international travellers to the UK from 8 June. We will provide further guidance in due course. More information international runners is available here.

Overnight accommodation at racecourses – please note that overnight accommodation will not be available at ANY racecourse for staff or horses from 1 June and until further notice.

Jump racing – the provisional fixture list includes Jump racing from 1 July. As confirmed previously, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.

Resumption planning

We will be publishing British Racing’s protocols for racing behind closed doors in the coming days. This is specific guidance for the racing industry to help safeguard the health of employees and participants in a controlled and managed return to racing behind closed doors.

This document, which is underpinned by government and public health guidance, will be applicable for everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will all need to be aware of and comply with the new and revised procedures and protocols in place.

It will include details about who is permitted to attend the racecourse in the early stages of resumption; an overview of the compulsory pre-raceday health screening requirements; information about the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings; and changes to racecourse protocols and procedures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.

In the meantime, and as communicated in our previous update, industry participants have been asked to complete the following actions in preparation for the resumption of racing on 1 June.

Updating employee records – trainers

As the BHA will need to communicate with all individuals who are registered to attend a raceday, all trainers are asked to ensure that the stable employee records for any individual who is likely to attend a fixture are up to date. The key details to check are:

  • Full, correct name
    • Date of birth
    • Contact details (including mobile phone and email address for the individual)
    • Next of kin details
    • Ensure that the Racehorse Attendant Pass is in dateMandatory online education module – all attendees

An online education module – COVID-19 Information for participants of the racing industry – has been developed and must be completed successfully by all attendees prior to their first attendance at a raceday from 1 June.

Any person who has not completed the online module will not be granted access to the racecourse.

The training module is available to complete now on the Racing2Learn website. More information about the module, including a step-by-step guide on registration and how to complete the course, is available here.

Uploading horse vaccination records to Weatherbys Vaccination App – trainers

Trainers (or another responsible person) are asked to upload the vaccination records of all horses declared to run to the Weatherbys Vaccination App. This should be completed for all horses declared to run from 1 June until further notice.

Storing the records electronically will remove the need for manual checking of vaccination records and prevent any administrative issues on the racecourse, thereby assisting with social distancing.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

Trainers have been contacted directly with instructions about how to download, register with and use the Weatherbys Vaccination App.  Any queries should be directed to Weatherbys on +44 (0)1933 440077 or [email protected].

Additional information to support industry planning

Schedule of the Rule and BHAGI waivers and amendments

A number of temporary changes to both the Rules of Racing and the BHA’s General Instructions have been introduced for racing to resume behind closed doors. These can be read here. Additional updates to the Rules and BHAGIs will be communicated next week.