Category: BHA and Regulatory Updates

Calendar update for All-Weather jockeys


Important calendar correction for All-Weather Amateur Jockeys: 

The BHA have kindly re-arranged Wolverhampton’s amateur race originally planned for 23rd March (but which clashed with Lingfield) by kind agreement with Wolverhampton racecourse. Many thanks to all concerned.

It has now been rescheduled for 28th March and will be our final All-Weather race of the amateur 2019/20 season when championship presentations will take place.

Update to Windsor gents race conditions 21st October


Note to all Flat Trainers and to all Gentleman Amateur Jockeys!
CORRECTION: The rider conditions for the following race were published incorrectly in the Racing Calendar.  The novice rider conditions (for gentleman amateur riders who have ridden no more than three winners) will no longer apply to this race.  The race is open to all gentleman amateur riders.WINDSOR Monday, October 21st, 201918246 5:00THE ATTHERACES HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 6) (FOR GENTLEMAN AMATEUR RIDERS)for three yrs old and upwards, Rated 51-65 (also open to such horses rated 66 and 67; such horses rated 50 and below are also eligible – see Standard Conditions)ONE MILE THREE FURLONGS about 99 YARDS (11f abt 99yds)To be ridden by Gentleman Amateur Riders who are members of the Amateur Jockeys’ Association of Great Britain by the deadline for Declaration of Jockeys Allowances: Riders who, prior to October 18th, 2019, have not ridden more than 10 winners in races under the Rules of Racing or the Rules of a recognised Racing Authority………………….3lb Riders who have not ridden more than 5 such winners….5lb Riders who have not ridden any such winner……………….7lb

IMPORTANT INFO for jockeys riding abroad



A reminder to all jockeys who might be riding abroad in the near future, please take the time to read the following regarding INSURANCE FOR JOCKEYS RIDING ABROAD:

1 Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card. It is free of charge and is easy to apply for on-line at

This card gives you the right to access state-provided health care when in Europe either at a reduced cost or in many cases free of charge.You need a National Insurance number or a National Health number in order to apply.

2 Make sure your Amateur Jockeys Association membership is up-to-date and valid so that in the event of an emergency you are entitled to help and support which is always available to AJA members.

3 Make sure you have clearance from the BHA both from the Medical Department and Licensing Disciplinary so that there are no problems when you come to weigh out abroad. This is essential especially in France where France Galop are strict.

4 Make sure you are race riding under the Rules of Racing under the jurisdiction of a Horseracing Authority which is recognised worldwide in order for your jockey race riding insurance (which comes with your BHA licence from weigh out to weigh in) to be valid.

5 Ensure you abide by the relevant rules of racing in your host country regarding body protector and whip rules etc.

6 Make sure that you purchase your own personal travel insurance in addition to the BHA insurance which your licence gives you. The BHA insurance does not cover repatriation if you have to be flown home in an emergency (cost approximately £25,000+) and therefore it really is worth it to purchase some travel insurance on-line for a small cost!We recommend Boots Travel Insurance with the Option 3 Hazardous Sports included. You only have to purchase this for the day of your race to minimise costs and it could make all the difference if something goes wrong and you sustain a serious injury.You also may like to ask our excellent AJA insurers: Max Johnson of Johnson Insurance on 07788 138634 for a competitive quote and personal service.

7 Make sure you are registered with a GP in the UK. This might sound unnecessary but for some Irish jockeys now based in the UK this is really important.

8 A further reminder for jockeys considering working abroad this summer: If a rider is based overseas and hopes to ride under Rules overseas, a permit must be sought from the relative governing authority in which they are currently based (e.g. France Galop, Direktorium Für Vollblutzucht Und Rennen).Riders with existing and valid BHA Amateur Rider permits can ride overseas for up to a period of up to thirty consecutive days. After a period of 30 successive days overseas, riders’ insurance ceases to be valid.Permits will not be renewed or granted for individuals that are not permanently based in Britain at the time of application.

Good luck if this is you and enjoy the experience!

Aintree must read for amateur jockeys



All amateur jockeys from both Ireland 🇮🇪and the UK🇬🇧 riding at Aintree over the next 3 days have been contacted with the following important information.

This is a vital reminder for any jockey unsure of procedures.

Course Walks: Following the 2-year trial of voluntary course walks at the Randox Health Grand National Festival, any rider who has not ridden over the Grand National fences more than twice at a Grand National Festival is required to take part in an official course walk with a BHA Jockey Coach. This will leave the Weighing Room at 10.30am on all 3 days of the Meeting, or at other times by arrangement with the Jockey Coaches. 

On Thursday the Jockey Coach will be Brian Harding, and on Friday and Saturday dual the Jockey Coach will be Grand National winning jockey Carl Llewellyn.

Course walks will take place on ALL 3 days of the Meeting. The same initiative is also being made available to professional jockeys who are riding in the Topham and the Grand National.

Those who are required to walk the course will have been notified by the BHA at declaration stage. Other jockeys are welcome to join them and walk the course. 

Pre-Race Procedures and Briefings
Foxhunter and Grand National Steeple Chases
As last year, there will be a Pre-Race Briefing in the Stewards Room at 12 noon on Thursday for ALL amateur jockeys riding in the Foxhunter Steeple Chase, and on Saturday for ALL jockeys riding in the Grand National Steeple Chase. ALL JOCKEYS RIDING IN EITHER RACE MUST ATTEND.

The Start 
Jockeys are asked to approach the tapes no faster than a jig-jog. If the Starter is not satisfied, for any reason, with the manner in which the field approaches he will not start the race and will instead call the jockeys to a standing start. 

If you do not finish in the first 4, please unsaddle in the wash-down area, where there is an excellent team on hand to assist with washing down horses. 

For those fortunate enough to be interviewed by ITV Racing, we have requested that they speak to you before the post-race interview to confirm you are happy with the well-being of your horse. Please follow the instructions of the vets who may ask you to take additional turns on the horse or to dismount. If you feel the need, please dismount and move away from the horse and continue the interview on foot.

Use of the Whip 
The use of the whip at major race meetings is under the spotlight, particularly at the Grand National Festival and more recently at the Cheltenham Festival. We are grateful for your respect of the Rules whilst competing on the biggest stage – it is important to our sport. 

Pulling-Up/Tired Horses
In recent years, jockeys have made excellent collective progress in relation to pulling-up tired and out of contention horses at the Grand National Festivals. We thank you for that and would once again urge you to do the same if you are out of contention. It is important from a welfare perspective.

If a horse is caught after a fall or unseat, the jockey may ride the horse back to unsaddle only if s/he has been authorised to do so by a vet and the jockey has been assessed by a doctor or paramedic. 

If black/yellow direction markers are displayed anywhere in the fence/hurdle, the obstacle MUST be bypassed. Jockeys must follow the direction of the arrow on the direction markers.

Thank you for your co-operation with the above to enable us to showcase the very best of our sport and we wish you and your horse good luck for a safe journey around Aintree.

Cheltenham Festival jockeys must read!






Dear Jockeys,

As we approach The Cheltenham Festival, the BHA are writing with some important information and advice for all riders at this fixture. This includes changes linked to the recommendations of the BHA Cheltenham Festival Review, published in December 2018.

The guidance for 2019, as detailed below, relates to: horse welfare, course walks and pre-race briefings, starting, whip use, pulling up of tired horses, remounting, disruption to racing and bypassing.

Horse welfare
The Cheltenham Festival Review included a recommendation that riders should be reminded of their responsibilities in relation to horse welfare. The welfare of horses is of paramount importance and riders should be aware that they will be subject to greater public scrutiny at these fixtures than is typically the case. The Stewards will be covering this subject at all pre-race briefings with riders. 

Course walks
Any rider who has not ridden since 1 May 2017 on any/either Cheltenham course (Old/New) on which they are booked to ride is required to complete a mandatory course walk with a BHA Jockey Coach. This requirement is based on a recommendation made in The Cheltenham Festival Review.

The only exceptions are riders who have ridden that course 25 times or more during their careers – these riders will be exempt and are not required to take the course walk unless they wish to do so.

Once declarations are made, riders required to complete a course walk will be notified directly. In the meantime, if riders would like to know their experience status regarding a course walk, they can enquire via

2 course walks will take place on each morning of The Festival. The first will take place at 10.15am, with the second at 11.15am. Any riders arriving at the course after these times, for rides later in the day, will have an additional course walk available to them once racing is underway and they should liaise with the BHA Jockey Coaches on the day to ensure they meet the requirements.

In addition to these mandatory walks of the Old and New courses, any rider booked to ride the Cross Country course for the first time in their career will be required to walk the Cross Country course before the day of the race, or on the morning of Wednesday 13 March.

Failure to complete a required course walk will result in disciplinary action from the stewards and possible suspension.

Pre-race briefings
The Cheltenham Festival Review also contained a recommendation relating to the daily briefing of riders during The Festival. It is a requirement that all riders attend these briefings, which will take place approximately 30 minutes prior to the start of the first race on each day in the Male Jockeys’ Changing Room. Riders will be required to sign in at scales to confirm their attendance.

These briefings will cover the topics contained in this document and any additional operational or racing issues that may arise during the course of the Festival.

As in previous years, there will be four Starters on duty at the Cheltenham Festival, three of whom will be available to help with girthing up and to provide other assistance at the start as needed. 

The current starting procedures are designed to reduce the speed at which riders approach the tapes and to give all horses the chance of a fair start. Outlined in the Appendix are the relevant BHA Rules and a summary of the procedures that will be in use at Cheltenham. 

Riders are asked to approach the tapes at no faster than a jig-jog. If the Starter is not satisfied, for any reason, with the manner in which the field approaches the Start on the first attempt, s/he will not start the race and will instead call the riders to a standing start. Any rider deemed to be in breach of the starting procedures (unless a problem arises through no fault of their own) will be reported to the Stewards.

We appreciate that everyone is under pressure on these occasions but ask that jockeys please comply with the starting procedures. By working together, we can get races underway at the first time of asking.

Whip use
Penalties for misuse of the whip are suspensions and, in certain circumstances, fines. The Rules are designed to protect the welfare of horses and the image of horseracing. BHA guidelines on the use of the whip can be viewed via the link here (pages 22-25), along with a summary of the Rules/Penalties. These are also attached as an appendix to this document.

As per the note on horse welfare above, use of the whip at these meetings will be under the spotlight. It is vital for the image of the sport that riders adhere to the guidelines. If any rider needs further guidance, they are advised to speak to the Chief Steward on duty.

Pulling-up/tired horses
Increased emphasis on the pulling-up of horses that are out of contention was another recommendation of the Cheltenham Festival Review. Jockeys have made excellent collective progress in relation to pulling-up of tired and out of contention horses at both the Cheltenham and Grand National Festivals in recent years. We thank you for that and would once again urge you to do this if you are out of contention, as it is vital from both a welfare and a public perception perspective.

The Rules provide the Stewards with wide powers in relation to this important equine welfare requirement. The penalties for breaching any welfare-related Rule are significant.

If riders fall or are unseated during the race they may NOT remount their horse and continue in the race. If they do, the horse will be disqualified and the rider will be suspended. 

If a horse is caught after a fall or unseat, the jockey may ride the horse back to unsaddle ONLY if s/he has been authorised to do so by a vet and the jockey has been assessed by a Racecourse Medical Officer or ambulance paramedic as set out in the Rules (B 46.2 and B 46.3). A rider will be suspended if s/he rides back on a horse that has not been seen by a vet.

At Cheltenham, all fences and hurdles are bypassable. If Black/Yellow direction markers are displayed anywhere in the fence/hurdle, the obstacle MUST be bypassed. Racecourses can now use more than the usual three direction markers in an obstacle if they wish. The rider must follow the direction of the arrow on the direction markers when bypassing an obstacle.

In the event that drones are used, as part of an attempt to disrupt racing, contingency plans have been put in place. Please obey the instructions of officials.

Please note that ITV will be using drones, by prior arrangement, but these will follow an agreed flight path at a safe distance from the track whilst races are in progress.

Advertising (Sponsorship) on jockey clothing/equipment
Riders must not carry any form of advertising on any part of their raceday clothing or equipment, unless a Sponsorship Agreement has been lodged in advance with Weatherbys and approved by the BHA.

Furthermore, the posterior site (beneath the coccyx site) is the property of the Professional Jockeys Association and, as such, may only be sold by them as part of a group deal.


Thank you for your assistance with all of the above, which will help to ensure a successful and incident-free Cheltenham Festival, enabling us to showcase the very best of our sport.

The BHA will assess these procedures following The Festival and will be in touch again in due course should changes be required for the Grand National Festival at Aintree.

Should you have any queries, or if you require further advice or guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact Brant Dunshea, BHA Chief Regulatory Officer, by telephone 0207 152 000 or email

Summary of Starting Procedures
Unless unavoidable, races will not be started with horses coming directly from girthing pens to the start line.
When girthing is complete, the Starter in charge shall mount the rostrum, even if there is still time to wait before the designated off time.
When girthed up, horses will walk round on course some distance back from the Start. However, no start will be effected if the runners are too far back. It is envisaged that they will be approximately 25 – 30 yards maximum from the start line.
There will be no goggles shout or any indication of the time remaining to the designated start time. It is the responsibility of the riders to be prepared, including having their goggles down, for the start.
When the Starter, who will be at the top of the rostrum, wishes the field to walk forward he will raise his flag to indicate this and also give the normal voice instructions. The Advanced Flag Operator will simultaneously raise their flag which should also be visible to riders.
Having raised the flag, only the Starter will issue instructions to the riders.
The field must come forward at a walk and no faster than a jig jog.
The start will be effected by the simultaneous release of the tape and dropping of the flag when the field have approached the Starter in such a way that he is satisfied that the start will be safe and fair.
Races will not be started if the field line up and commence to move forward before the Starter raises his flag or approach the start at faster than a jig jog before the tape is released and flag lowered.
If the above happens, the Starter will wave his flag to indicate that the race will not be started and the field must pull up. The Advance Flag Operator will also wave their flag to enable riders furthest away from the Starter to understand that the race will not be started.
Should the field be unable to pull up, the tape may be released for safety reasons but the Starter will continue to wave his flag and declare a false start which will be reciprocated by the Advanced Flag Operator.
If the race is not started at the first attempt, the field will regroup at the marker poles and a standing start to the satisfaction of the Starter will be effected by tape and flag. There will not be a further attempt at a walk-in start and runners will not be sent back further than is necessary to regroup at the marker poles.
Starters will report offending riders to the Stewards.

Rules of Racing: Manual B, Schedule 5, Part 3…
Walking round, Walking up and Turning back.

Summary of Whip Rules and Penalties
1.Rather than rules based solely on a fixed number, stewards will focus more on how the whip is used and be able to apply their discretion when considering a rider’s use of the whip.

2. The trigger for stewards to review a rider’s use of the whip remains the existing figures of eight times or more for Flat races and nine times or more for Jump races. However, rather than such use representing an automatic breach, the stewards will look at the ride and decide whether or not to hold an enquiry.

3. When deciding whether to hold an enquiry the stewards will consider the rider’s use the whip during the course of the entire race, with particular attention to its use in the closing stages and relevant factors such as:
a) The manner in which the whip was used, including the degree of force;
b) The purpose for which the whip was used;
c) The distance over which the whip was used and whether the number of times it was used was reasonable and necessary;
d) Whether the horse was continuing to respond.

4. Provided that the overall manner in which the whip had been used was measured, stewards may choose to disregard occasions when the whip was used, for example:
a) To keep a horse in contention or to maintain a challenging position prior to what would be considered the closing stages of a race;
b) To maintain a horse’s focus and concentration;
c) To correct a horse that is noticeably hanging;
d) Where there is only light contact with the horse;
e) Following a mistake at an obstacle;
f) To correct a horse that is running down an obstacle;

5. A rider found to have used his whip once over the permitted level, after the Stewards have applied their discretion, will be suspended for two days, two times over will incur a four day suspension and three times over a seven day suspension, with each extra usage adding two days to the penalty.

6. Previous offences are not to be taken into account when deciding on the level of penalty. Offences which incur a suspension of two to six days are to be treated separately from those offences that incur a suspension of seven days or more.

7. Under a revised referral process repeat offenders will be referred to the Disciplinary Panel and incur a lengthy suspension (see penalty guidelines). Riders will be referred after their fifth offence of a two to six day ban within the previous six months, or after their fourth offence of seven days or more within the previous six months.

8. It is generally accepted that the incentive to breach the rules is greater in more valuable races. Consequently stewards will have the ability to impose a fine on a rider between £200 and £10,000. This will apply in Jump races worth £20,000 or more and Flat races worth £27,500 or more. Stewards will consider the gravity of the offence and the rider’s earnings in that particular race when identifying the appropriate level of fine.

IJF Acute Injury Clinics available to all amateur jockeys!


A reminder to ensure that all amateur jockeys are aware that ACUTE INJURY CLINICS are available to all licensed jockeys who have sustained an acute race-riding related injury (from a fall or kick etc).

Jockeys can literally turn up and be seen by a physiotherapist without making a prior appointment at the following times:

Oaksey House: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays 10-11 am

Jack Berry House: Mondays between 10 am and 11:30 am

Ex-conditional jockeys age cap of 26 lifted by BHA for point to points


After lengthy negotiation back in 2010 the BHA kindly agreed to raise the cap of winning rides for ex-conditionals/apprentices reverting to amateur status from 10 to 25 and also remove the 48 month time limit that was then in place.

At that time we automatically assumed that the age restriction would also be lifted, but unfortunately it has taken another 8 years of continual request to see this progress somewhat in that ex-conditionals/apprentices can (as of today) now ride in point-to-points even after retiring as a professional after the age of 25.

Our struggle continues as we request that this same Rule (that has always existed in Ireland where there is no age limit) should also apply under Rules to include Hunter Chases as well as both amateur and NH professional races.

We would welcome hearing from any ex-conditional/apprentice jockey who would benefit from a lifting of the current age restriction of 26 who has not exceeded 25 professional wins.

Please get in touch with Sarah Oliver if this is you at e-mail: or text 07789 935399.

Many thanks.

Calendar update: Important: All amateur jockeys!


Calendar update: Important: All amateur jockeys!
Please note that Nottingham will this year kindly host both final races of the season for our gentlemen and our lady riders.
Therefore we have changes to races planned as follows:
31st October: Gentlemen riders only: final race of season
7th November: Lady riders only: final race of season
Good luck all!

Gents All-Weather race counts towards Flat Championship


Every winner is so special to all connections, not least the jockey, and every effort is therefore made to include every win within a championship.
Consequently Carol Bartley‘s win in 2017’s Silk Series on the A/W at Newcastle counted towards the ladies amateur turf championship and similarly this year’s win by Ella Mccain at Wolverhampton is included.
Using the same logic, with our amateur All-Weather Championship involving both sexes riding except for a single race – the gentlemen’s race at Wolverhampton on 9th May – the winning ride here by James Harding aboard HEWOULDWOULDNTHE for Jonathan Portman will count towards the gentlemen’s flat championship.
Any race which have special conditions, such as invitation races or novice riders’ races (barring anyone with more than 3 wins from participating) cannot be counted towards any championship when they are not open for all to take part.

Betfair Series date changes: Novice Riders please note


18th July: Catterick Bridge
25th July: Leicester
1st August: Redcar
14th August: Thirsk
17th August: Nottingham
27th August: Ripon
6th September: Carlisle
8th October: Royal Windsor
Attention all novice amateur riders: Important update:
  • Due to circumstances beyond our control, the following race at ROYAL WINDSOR has been re-scheduled within the Racing Calendar:
 SUNDAY 12TH AUGUST: ROYAL WINDSOR: now a mixed amateur riders race;
BETFAIR novice riders’ date = 8TH OCTOBER which will be the final in this year’s series.
  • More BETFAIR updates and good news for NOVICE RIDERS:
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Betfair race originally planned for CARLISLE on 30th August will now remain a novice riders race but not carry Betfair sponsorship. The same race conditions remain and a Jockey Coach will be in attendance but this race will not count towards the Betfair Series.
The CARLISLE leg of the Betfair Series, the penultimate race in the series, will now take place on Thursday 6th September before the finale at Royal Windsor on Monday 8th October.
We are most grateful to Carlisle Racecourse (and all other Betfair supporting racecourses) for all of their help and support.
Carlisle are now giving us not only a gentlemen’s (an additional fixture) and a ladies race this month, but also two novice riders races. Many thanks to Carlisle Racecourse’s Executive.
The Betfair 8 Race Novice Riders Series now looks like this:
18th July: Catterick Bridge
25th July: Leicester
1st August: Redcar
14th August: Thirsk
17th August: Nottingham
27th August: Ripon
6th September: Carlisle
8th October: Royal Windsor