Category: General News

Amateur racing resumes


Following the end of national lockdown due from 00:01 on Wednesday 2nd December and the newly revamped Tier system coming into effect at the same time, the BHA understand that amateur racing can go ahead as planned.

Please note: This could be subject to change, but as of today amateur races will be run as planned within the Racing Calendar.

NH racing restarts 1st July



The BHA’s latest update included changes to jockey restrictions for flat fixtures which are based on further assessment of risk and logistical factors.

To ensure consistency across both codes, jockey eligibility for Jump races in the initial stages following resumption will be as follows:

1 – 12 July: restricted to riders who have ridden at least 40 winners under rules·

13 – 19 July: restricted to riders who have ridden at least 20 winners under rules

20 July onwards: no specific restrictions – normal qualifications apply

This ruling applies to both amateur and professional jump jockeys and the tally refers to any winner that would typically count towards a rider losing their claim (Flat, Jump, Foreign etc.)

The new season for the NH Amateur Championships will therefore start on 20 July when there are no restrictions on participating jockeys.



It is with regret that the BHA have advised today that owing to the current Covid 19 pandemic there will be no amateur riders’ races scheduled until September 2020 at the earliest, subject to review nearer the time.

UK Jump racing suspended by BHA until July


The BHA announced on Thursday 2 April that jump racing in the UK has been suspended until at least 1 July. Currently working on the resumption of Flat racing “behind closed doors” from 1 May, this will allow the industry to concentrate on Flat racing without jump racing putting more pressure on medical and emergency services.

The decision was made following a proposal from the National Trainers Federation to bring clarity to both trainers and owners and minimise unnecessary expense. It was then agreed by the Racehorse Owners Association, the Professional Jockeys Association and the Racecourse Association. More NH fixtures will be scheduled later in the summer.

On the same day it was also announced in Ireland that the Irish point-to-point season has now ended.

COVID-19: Racing’s response – the developing plan


Racing leaders are working to a detailed plan coordinated by the industry group set up to tackle COVID 19. The focus of the plan has shifted over the last 72 hours from allowing racing to continue behind closed doors, maintaining high medical and welfare standards, to meeting the immediate needs of individuals facing hardship and working on a financial response in the light of the suspension of racing.  

Senior executives from the BHA, RCA, NTF and the ROA met again this morning to work on an assessment of immediate needs and identify the funding available from government and industry sources as a priority. Few details have been given so far of the processes involved in applying for government assistance, but the BHA is constantly engaged with key departments to ensure they are aware of the issues that have already been encountered. All this will assist in enabling the industry to put forward a request for government support. 

The Industry Group is meeting again tomorrow morning to finalise an initial plan. As well as the immediate response to the shutdown, it is coordinating teams and resources to focus on the problems and issues the industry needs to address and resolve. It is already developing a resumption plan to enable racing to get up and running when that becomes possible.

The BHA chairs the Industry Group, through its Chief Executive Nick Rust. Other senior executives involved include David Armstrong from the RCA, Charlie Liverton from the ROA and The Horsemen’s Group, Rupert Arnold from the NTF and Claire Sheppard from the TBA. 

The BHA is supporting all areas of the industry plan. These include:

  • Finance. This work is led by senior executives and is assessing the financial needs of racecourses, trainers, breeders, other employers and those working in racing. All avenues of potential assistance are being explored. It is supported by the BHA’s Public Affairs Team which is in daily contact with government.
  • People. Dawn Goodfellow from Racing Welfare has joined the Industry’s COVID19 Group and will work initially to coordinate help for individuals, supported by the Industry People team led by Will Lambe at the BHA.
  • Medical. Dr Iain McNeil, the RCA’s Medical Advisor and Dr Jerry Hill from the BHA continue to provide racing with advice on how the pandemic is developing and actions to be taken.
  • Equine Sector. George Noad from the NTF, Claire Sheppard from the TBA and Charlie Liverton from the ROA provide an overview of the impact on trainers, breeders, their staff and jockeys as well as the needs of owners. Dr David Sykes, the BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare, will develop a welfare and veterinary response to support those looking after horses.

Effort is already directed at making sure racing is ready to return at the earliest possible opportunity. Key areas here include:

  • Race-day Resilience and Planning. This work is to ensure that all requirements are in place to run race-days when possible. Caroline Davies leads for the RCA, whilst Brant Dunshea, the Chief Regulatory Officer of the BHA, will ensure that all regulatory functions are maintained, including stewarding, integrity and veterinary resources.    
  • Fixtures and race programmes. Richard Wayman from the BHA leads a tripartite team planning a schedule for resumption, with Ruth Quinn leading on the Pattern and international engagement.

Finally, there are two key areas of work to support the group and keep the industry informed of progress.

  • The BHA provides project management and support for the industry group, led by  its Director of Communication and Corporate Affairs, Martin Fewell.
  • The same team deals with media and government, with its Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Alison Enticknap, leading engagement with the racing industry as the plan develops. 

Membership organisations continue to share valuable information and guidance either directly and/or on their websites, which is specific to the needs of their members and reflects questions being asked. We encourage trainers, owners, stable staff, jockeys, breeders and racecourse staff to check this information regularly for updates and to contact these organisations direct with any further questions.

In addition, there are other areas of work underway. Racing Together is identifying ways in which racing may be able to support the wider community effort to tackle the impact of the virus. The BHA is looking at how to fill resourcing gaps that emerge in the industry through Brant Dunshea, and will share details in the next few days of how it intends to manage outstanding disciplinary matters, including appeals, during the shutdown.  

Nick Rust, the BHA Chief Executive who chairs the Industry Group, said:

‘The effort from across the sport at the moment is incredible. There is a determination that racing will not be beaten by this shutdown. The willingness to help is universal. We will do all we can to keep people informed as we progress.’

The Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, Dawn Goodfellow, added:

‘We are acutely aware that the current situation will be resulting in immediate hardship for many people from a whole range of different roles across the industry.  We are working hard to ensure that any available funds that the industry can provide are disbursed quickly, fairly and transparently to those in most need.’

Rob Hezel, the Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, which has managed since 2012 the funds received by racing after the sale of the Tote, said:

‘We are working as fast as possible with senior racing executives to work out how best to use our resources to support the developing plan. We are also liaising with other funding bodies to increase the levels of support that can be made available and we are examining the pressures being faced by racing’s charities so we can help them wherever possible too.’

British Horseracing Suspended until End April


The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed that all horseracing in Britain will be suspended with effect from tomorrow.

Two race meetings are scheduled to take place behind closed doors at Wetherby and Taunton today, but race meetings will then cease up to the end of April. The decision will be kept under constant review.

The formal decision was taken by Board of the British Horseracing Authority this morning based on the statements made by the government yesterday and after consultation with senior industry leaders. Medical Advisers to the RCA and the BHA, who have been advising an industry group on the response to the crisis, have also been consulted.

The BHA took the decision to protect essential emergency services and the health and welfare of staff working in the racing industry. Racecourses and racing have obligations to ensure the safety of participants and provide medical cover which clearly cannot be fulfilled in these circumstances. This follows the new advice issued by government yesterday to combat the spread of the virus.

More info:

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.



Following a period of consultation with industry stakeholders, the BHA Board has approved changes to the Rules of Racing regarding safety vests which come into force from 1st October 2018:

  • Level 1 safety vests to be replaced by Level 2 safety vests EN 13158:2009 or 2018
  • Weight allowance: an extra 1 lb in addition to the current 2 lbs making a total of 3 lbs allowance for the vest

The amended rules are as follows:

 For implementation from October 1st 2018 

Schedule (D)2 – Equipment PART 1 

Design of safety vests 

6. A safety vest is approved by the Authority if it meets (BS) EN 13158: 2009 or 2018. 

7. The minimum acceptable standard for a safety vest is Level 2 

8. A safety vest must not be 

8.1 modified in any way, or 

8.2 attached to the horse or any equipment carried by the horse. 

Rule (B)22 – Weighing out procedure 

22.6 The Clerk of the Scales will not allow a Rider to be weighed out for any race unless he is wearing a safety vest which conforms to a standard approved by the Authority (see Rule (D)36 (safety vests, skull caps and saddles)). 

22.7 Rule (D)42 (weighing out) specifies requirements applying to a Rider on weighing out, including the items he must include in the scale. 

22.8 Overweight will be rounded down to the nearest 1lb unit. 

22.9 Subject to Paragraph 22.10, to compensate for being required to wear a safety vest, the weight of a Rider on weighing out will automatically be allowed at 3lbs less than the weight that is registered on the scale (factored into the calibration of the Weighing Room scales). 

22.10 During the months of December, January and February, to compensate for wearing a safety vest and extra clothing, the weight of the Rider on weighing out for a flat race will automatically be allowed at 4lbs less than the weight that is registered on the scale (factored into the calibration of the Weighing Room scales).



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.

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.

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 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 an injury.

6 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.

7 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 thirty 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.

AJA AGM date revised to 6th February 2018


Please can all members note that the AJA AGM originally planned to take place on Monday next 4th December has been postponed until Tuesday 6th February to enable as many of our officials and committee to attend as possible.

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