Category: BHA and Regulatory Updates

Course walk on offer for all amateur jockeys prior to Cheltenham rides


By kind arrangement with Cheltenham Racecourse the following has been arranged for any Amateur Jockey riding at Cheltenham Festival:

Former jockey and BHA Coach Carl Llewellyn will be offering a Course Walk at the Cheltenham Festival prior to racing each day.  The initiative mirrors that of the previously established course walks at Aintree.  The majority of amateurs riding at Cheltenham are invariably experienced and many are previous course winners but those jockeys with inexperience of Cheltenham are encouraged to try and attend the walk.

Please meet Carl in the Weighing Room from 11:30 am.

Good luck to all amateur jockeys riding at Cheltenham!

Amateur jockey name details in racecards


The AJA have always included all amateur jockeys’ Christian names when publishing tables to make all amateur jockeys more “user-friendly” to the racing public and to help raise all amateurs’ profiles.

After much discussion it has at last been agreed with the BHA that this can apply to all amateur jockeys when names appear in the press and on racecards but this is subject to each individual amateur jockey’s wishes.

From 1st March 2018 all amateur jockeys’ names will be made up of a title, forename (in full) and surname as opposed to the current system whereby most jockeys are known only by title, initial and surname.  If you would prefer a different style from this, please respond via e-mail to by no later than Monday 12th February.

If you are happy with the proposed new racing style, you do not need to do anything and you will be notified when the changes have been made.

Reminder: AJA AGM Tuesday 6th February @ Welcombe Stratford


Diary reminder: AJA AGM (originally planned for Monday 4th December) takes place on Tuesday 6th February to maximise attendances.

The AGM will take place in The Oak Room, The Welcombe Hotel, Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0NR at 12 noon and all AJA members are welcome.

ALL AJA members are welcome but please e-mail if you plan to attend in order for catering to be booked.

Last chance for Cat B course pre Cheltenham & Aintree


Are you hoping to ride at this year’s Cheltenham Festival or Aintree but need your Cat B licence?

The 22-26 January Rider Assessment course is virtually full but there are a few spaces on the 12-16 February course.

Please note: This is the LAST CHANCE for applicants to complete Category B training prior to Cheltenham Festival and Aintree. The next course is to be held at the BRS on 14-18 May.

For all queries regarding this please call Henry Bradley at BHA Licensing on 0207 152 0140.

Are you thinking of turning Conditional in the near future?


Any amateur jockeys with a view to turning conditional in the near future should be aware that a Conditional Jockeys Licence Course is taking place from 19th February until 2nd March at the British Racing School.  In order to attend, applicants must successfully complete one of the Pre-Assessment days:

  • 8 January 2018 at British Racing School
  • 10 January 2018 at Northern Racing College


Brand new Conditionals and Category ‘A’ Amateurs who wish to turn Conditional must attend the full two weeks of the Licence Course.  Category ‘B’ Amateurs only have to attend the second week of the Course.

After February there will not be another Conditional Course until August 2018!  Any Amateurs who are thinking about applying for a Conditional Licence in the next month or two, must submit applications to BHA Licensing  as soon as possible!

If you have any queries please call Max Milward  on 0207 152 0145.

Cat B amateurs only for all Festival amateur races


Cheltenham Racecourse announces today a change to entry conditions for amateur riders taking part in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase and the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase races at The Festival in March.

From 2018 onwards, in line with the G2 National Hunt Chase, these two amateur races will be restricted to those holding a Category B Permit.

Amateur jockeys holding a Category B Permit require at least 15 completed rides under the Rules of Racing, the majority of which must have come over obstacles or at least 20 completed rides in Point-to-Points and/or under the Rules of Racing.

Holders of an equivalent permit from a recognised overseas racing authority will also be eligible to ride at The Festival (for example, a Category C Permit issued in Ireland will be valid).

In 2017, all those riding in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase held a Category B amateur rider permit and just four of the 23 riders having a Category A licence for the St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase.

Simon Claisse, Regional Head of Racing, South West & Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, commented: “The Festival is the best four days of Jump racing in the calendar and has grown into an event which receives worldwide attention.

“An important and historic dimension to The Festival is the provision of races for amateur riders alongside those for professionals. We are proud of this tradition, which goes all the way back to the foundation of Jump racing.

“This change to the entry conditions for amateur riders will ensure that all competitors have appropriate experience over fences to compete at this level and also by announcing this change now it gives jockeys enough time to qualify for their Category B licence.”

Sarah Oliver, CEO of the Amateur Jockeys Association, declared: “It is welcome news to the Amateur Jockeys Association concerning this change in race conditions for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase.

“These showcase races are anticipated from one season to the next by the amateur fraternity and it is only right that the race conditions should reflect the prestige of them. Thank you Cheltenham!”

Nick Sutton, Acting Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority, added: “The St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase is one of the most prominent races for amateurs in the sport.

“The competitive nature of the race, plus the additional pressures of a 70,000 crowd and TV coverage, make it only an appropriate contest for experienced riders who hold a Category B licence.”

Jamie Stier, Chief Regulatory Officer for the British Horseracing Authority, said: “The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the Jump season, and each year the interest and scrutiny on all of the races run at the meeting grows.

“The changes to entry conditions for amateur riders announced today have the full support of the BHA and will ensure that only the very best-qualified amateur jockeys take part in what are thorough tests for both horse and rider.

“While we understand that this will impact current category A permit holders, the sport must always look at ways it can improve safety and welfare for our participants and our horses.

“Any riders currently holding a category A permit who wish to enquire about gaining a category B permit should contact the BHA Licensing team as a matter of priority.”


Impending New Rule for Body Protectors


Calling all jockeys! Are you thinking of buying a new body protector?

As of 1st January 2017, all jockeys racing in Ireland 🇮🇪(National Hunt, Flat and Point-to-Point jockeys) have been required by the Turf Club to wear a minimum of a level 2 body protector. (An increase in the weight allowance from 2lbs to 3lbs has been made to accommodate this rule change under Irish Rules of Racing.)

Within the next 6 months (possibly end March 2018) this Rule will be phased in within the UK under BHA Rules and will become MANDATORY in about 12 months time (date details to follow) with a Rule Change.

This will bring our 🇬🇧 Rules of Racing into line with Ireland’s and help to protect jockeys from serious injury when sustaining a fall. Further details will appear as soon as details are available from the BHA.

Reminder: AJA membership emergency procedure


A reminder that all amateur Flat races require AJA membership for amateur jockeys.  If you are unable to be jocked up over the weekend by Weatherbys due to lapse of your membership, then in this emergency please call Weatherbys Jockey Desk on 01933 440011 between 8:30 am & 12:00 pm on Saturday or between 9:00 am &  1:00 pm on Sunday to make payment via card and be registered instantly.



Please take the time to read this if you are considering turning professional in the future or if you are thinking of applying for a Category B course
Important update for
– all amateur jockeys wanting to apply for a Cat B licence and
– all amateur jockeys wishing to turn professional:
A major change has taken place regarding the length of the Category B licence course which up until now has been held as a combined 5-day residential course for both Conditional and Amateur Jockeys. (Amateur jockeys must have completed 15 jump rides under Rules or 20 rides in point-to-points or a combination of the two.)
From the date of the next Category B course to held the British Racing School from 20 to 24 February 2017, the course will remain as 5 days for amateur jockeys wishing to obtain their Category B.
However, for professional jockeys there will be an extension of a further 5 days which must be attended before their Conditional licence will be granted by the BHA.
Further dates for Cat B courses in 2017:
British Racing School, Newmarket:
15 to 19 May
Northern Racing College, Doncaster:
17 to 21 July
2 to 6 October
There are a limited number of places funded by the AJA but once these places have been taken, the cost of the course is £830.
The following 2nd week conditional course dates for 2017 are:
1-12 May therefore 2nd week for Cat B amateurs = 8-12 May
27 Nov – 8 Dec therefore 2nd week for Cat Bs = 4-8 December
To book your place on the above course, please call BHA Licensing on 0207 152 0148 without delay.
This is obviously going to require forward planning on your part. Please spread the word with your weighing room colleagues.



Further to the BHA notice of 29 January 2015, BSEN 1384:2012 and CSN EN 1384:2012 has been removed as an acceptable standard on and after 1st January 2017! Please check your skull cap NOW – checks will be made when you next weigh out on the racecourse!

Help checking your cap: helmet-skull-cap-flow-chart

More information here: helmet-information-sheet-jan-2017

The revised required standards are:

Design of skull cap

1. A skull cap is approved by the Authority if it meets PAS 015: 2011, SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015.

2. The skull cap must not have a chin cup, cradle or draw lace.

3. The chin strap must pass under the jaw and be attached to the harness by a quick release buckle.

4. The skull cap must not have metal hooks.

Fitting of skull cap

5.1 The skull cap must be of the correct size for the Rider and must be correctly fitted and fastened.

5.2 The face harness must be correctly adjusted and the chin strap fastened at all times when the Rider is mounted on a horse.

Do not forget:  a helmet/skull cap which has been involved in an impact should be replaced in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. Jockeys who sustain a concussion under Rules which is diagnosed at the time by a Racecourse Medical Officer are eligible for an £80.00 voucher towards a replacement helmet/skull cap under the BHA/BETA Concussion Bounty Scheme.