Category: Jockey Club Notices

Amateurs to adhere to strict Covid-19 protocols on return to racecourse


There is just under a week to go before amateur racing returns on Monday next, 29th March, in line with the easing of Government lockdown restrictions. 


In order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and safeguard the industry from disruption, all amateur riders are asked to continue to observe the BHA COVID-19 Protocols when returning to the racecourse. Here is a reminder – click on the link below:

Riders are also asked to keep to an absolute minimum time spent on the racecourse both in the weighing and changing rooms as well as in other infection control (Green Zone) areas.

Please do not arrive any earlier at the racecourse than necessary. If arriving early, please stay in your vehicle until it is absolutely essential to enter the weighing room. Also please remember to leave the course as soon as possible after you have finished racing.

It is really important that numbers and time spent on the racecourse is kept to a minimum in an effort to reduce risk and keep everyone safe. Please play your part!Thanks everyone and good luck!

Amateurs look forward to Aintree Foxhunters


Many thanks to all involved at the BHA and Aintree Racecourse for their assistance working together to ensure that amateur jockeys can look forward to returning to Aintree for the Foxhunters – we cannot wait!

BHA announces changes to race conditions for amateurs hoping to ride in the Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase at Aintree

  • Category B Amateurs must have ridden in a Chase or Hurdle contest in Britain or Ireland at least once between 1 November 2020 and 5 April 2021 to compete in Aintree Foxhunters’
  • Additional races scheduled to increase opportunities for those affected

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed an alteration to the conditions of the Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase at Aintree on Thursday 8 April 2021 that will restrict eligibility to Category B Amateurs who have ridden in at least one steeple chase or hurdle race under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of Irish NH Committee between 1 November 2020 and 5 April 2021 inclusive.

Amateur riders will be permitted to return to race riding in England in line with the return of amateur sports, set out as part of the UK Government’s plan for the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England in the coming weeks and months. At this stage, this will happen no earlier than Monday 29 March.

The BHA has taken part in discussions with representatives of Aintree Racecourse and the Amateur Jockeys Association, where concerns were raised about the proximity of a potential return of amateur sport and the Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase. It has therefore been decided that the new minimum number of rides should be introduced for this year’s race, with an additional race scheduled at each of the following meetings to increase the opportunities available to meet the criteria:

Uttoxeter – 1 April

Carlisle – 3 April

Market Rasen – 4 April

Chepstow – 5 April

The Jockey Club’s Regional Head of Racing – North West and Aintree Racecourse Clerk of the Course, Sulekha Varma, said: “The Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase is one of the pinnacles of the Amateur Jockeys’ season and I am thrilled that we look set to have Amateur Jockeys back on course for the race in 2021.

“We are sympathetic to the challenging year that Amateur Jockeys in Britain have had and, with the considerable hiatus in their normal season of both Point-to-Points and racing under rules, we are keen to ensure that all jockeys are ready to take on the Grand National Fences in April. I hope that all Amateur Jockeys wishing to ride at Aintree will do their best to make use of the additional opportunities provided between 29 March and 5 April.”

Extra Flat races added to programme for April


Some good news to cheer up amateur jockeys at long last!

Additional Amateur Flat Races Added: Newcastle 7th & 15th April; Doncaster 24th April

Due to the relaxation of government restrictions around grassroots sport participation, the BHA have scheduled an additional three flat races for Amateur Riders throughout April. Race details are as follows:

7th April – Newcastle – 10f 4yo+ Class 4 Handicap (61-80)

15th April – Newcastle – 7f 4yo+ Class 5 Handicap (56-75)

24th April – Doncaster – 8f 4yo+ Class 6 Handicap (46-65)

**Please note – the programmed Amateur riders 12f Handicap at Doncaster on 28th March has reverted to professional jockeys as it falls before the relaxation of restrictions**

Many thanks to BHA Race Planning for their co-operation in making these additions possible.

29th March diary date for amateurs to return to racing


With the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown announced on Monday including that grass roots sport cannot return until 29th March, the resumption of outdoor grassroots sports for children and adults from the end of March is earlier than many expected. The date dovetails with the return of point-to-points in England which has been announced by the Point-To-Point Authority.

The one big caveat is the three-week gap following the full reopening of schools. The Government will carefully monitor the impact of each stage of its roadmap on Covid-19 transmission rates and will be watching for any significant increases in infections during March.

The BHA would welcome seeing amateur jockeys able to ride again and are currently working with The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, as they have throughout the pandemic, to ensure that this happens as soon as possible.

Update to August Calendar!



Following discussions with the BHA regarding the programming of 2 amateur races on 21 August, the following has been agreed:

  • BATH 19 August 1m6f Class 6 Handicap will be for amateur jockeys
  • WOLVERHAMPTON 21 August will now be for professional jockeys

Thanks to all working to make it work in these challenging times!

The latest revised list is here:

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.

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: