Category: Jockey News
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.
ALL AMATEUR RIDERS PLEASE READ AND NOTE:
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!
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.”
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.
The Sun newspaper has reported on champion Gina Andrews looking forward to her return to the racecourse following her bad fall at Cheltenham back in December when she broke her cheekbone and eye socket and sustained damage to her liver.
Thankfully Gina is now fully fit and eagerly awaits returning to Aintree for the Foxhunters on Thursday 8th April. Well done Gina on such a great recovery with loads of the season left to enjoy plenty of winners!
FREDDIE TETT was the man to follow at Saturday’s racemeeting at Treviso, as the British amateur jockey rode his first ever jump race double at the northern Italian course.
Whilst the rest of us are counting down the days until British amateur racing is set to restart on 29th March, nothing is stopping Fred who took himself off to take up residency in France just in time before lockdown set in. Having already enjoyed winners in France and Belgium, this afternoon Fred enjoyed his first ever career jump double, this time in Treviso, Italy over hurdles! Many congratulations to Fred on a great achievement
First up was KNAPSACK in the Premio Montebelluna hurdle race over 3000 metres. One of four runners in the race for owner-trainer Paolo Favero, Knapsack started her career in England, where she was unplaced in three races on the flat for trainer Clive Cox. However, Knapsack has adapted well to life over hurdles in Italy, winning over 3500 metres at Pisa last month. The drop down in distance didn’t inconvenience the four year old Nathaniel filly here however, as despite jumping the third last hurdle last of the five runners, Knapsack made smooth headway under Tett in the closing stages, coming home ahead of the Polish-bred pair of Bazajyd and Consensus to give owner-trainer Favero a 1-2-3 in the race.
Tett completed his double aboard another Favero-trained runner, WEST COAST TIME, who prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Premio Sant Artemio, another hurdle race over 3000 metres, where six of the eight runners looked to have chances jumping the final hurdle. However, whereas Knapsack is a regular over hurdles, West Coast Time is more at home running over extreme distances whilst negotiating cross country obstacles, highlighted by his third place finish in a Group 2 cross country chase at Merano over 6000 metres back in September. However, despite running over half that distance here, West Coast Time, formerly trained in Ireland by Joseph O’Brien before joining current connections in November 2019, belied odds of 15.5-1, getting the better of stablemate Padrinho, with the German-bred grey Salem Aleikum back in third.
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.
The Racing Post have reported on the Government’s update on grassroots sports restrictions which are set to last until at least 29th March, resulting in the loss of rides at Cheltenham Festival for all jockeys holding an amateur licence.
As reported by Peter Scargil and Mark Boylan:
Amateur jockeys will not be permitted to ride at this season’s Cheltenham Festival due to the UK government’s restrictions on grassroots sport lasting until March 29. Amateur riders are traditionally part of the fabric of the Cheltenham Festival with three races – the National Hunt Chase, Kim Muir Handicap Chase, and the St James’s Place Hunters’ Chase – reserved solely for them, and the leading amateurs also compete with professionals in the meeting’s other races.
However, amateur and grassroots sports have been suspended in Britain since lockdown began on January 4 and a resumption is earmarked for March 29. As such, the decision is understood to have been taken by the BHA to not allow amateur jockeys to compete at Cheltenham, an elite sports event, this year. It is unclear whether any suspension of amateur riders competing beyond March 29 will be in place, with contests such as the Foxhunters’ Chase at the Grand National meeting reserved for amateurs in normal circumstances.
Ten-time Cheltenham Festival-winning rider Jamie Codd was philosophical about the exclusion, while stating he has no intention to turn professional in order to ride at the meeting. Had Codd been allowed to participate, of the riders on duty only Richard Johnson, Nico de Boinville and Paul Townend would have ridden more festival winners than him. Instead, he is now hoping the ban will be lifted in time for the Foxhunters’ Chase at Aintree.
“It’s hugely disappointing for the amateurs in the UK and for us qualified riders in Ireland not to be there, but this is a government decision in very difficult circumstances and there was very little we could do,” Codd said. “I was preparing myself for this. I thought we might be in trouble, and I won’t be turning professional but I will be cheering on all the Irish horses from home. There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel that we might be back for Aintree, so that would be something to look forward to.”
Record-breaking point-to-point rider Derek O’Connor echoed Codd’s hopes for an Aintree return, adding that the absence of amateurs would be felt greatest in the Hunters’ Chase.
Given how important a race like the Hunters’ Chase is to the grassroots network of people in racing, it’s a big loss that amateurs won’t be allowed to ride in it,” he said. “We’re just hopeful we’ll get back in time for Aintree when things should be a little more straightforward.”
Elements of the amateur season have already been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with point-to-points in Britain and Ireland halted as part of the ban on non-elite sports. The UK Point-To-Point Authority confirmed on Tuesday that its meetings would return on March 29, provided the government is in a position to lift the restrictions on non-elite sport.
In Ireland, a return date for point-to-points is still uncertain, with the lockdown in the country remaining until at least April 5, according to Taoiseach Micheal Martin.
Photo credit: Patrick McCann
An update for amateur jockeys whilst lockdown continues as required under Covid-19 restrictions laid down by government:
Following the latest government guidance around the continuation of elite sport during lockdown, it has been necessary to amend the conditions of race number 60462 THE BETWAY HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 4) at Wolverhampton on 1 February, 60615 THE BOMBARDIER BRITISH HOPPED AMBER BEER HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 6) at Southwell on 12 February, and 60636 THE BOMBARDIER BRITISH-HOPPED AMBER BEER HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 6) at Wolverhampton on 13 February.
Government guidance only permits elite professional sport under these conditions and as a consequence these races will revert to professional jockeys only.
Further announcements regarding future Flat Amateur Jockeys’ races will be made once the restrictions have been reviewed by government in due course.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), together with Cheltenham and Aintree, has today confirmed changes to the race conditions for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase at The Festival™ and the Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase at the Randox Grand National Festival for 2021.
This is to take account of the loss of qualification opportunities due to the cancellation of Point-to-Point racing in line with government guidance on grassroots sport.
Full race conditions for both races will be available via the Racing Admin site, www2.racingadmin.co.uk, shortly.
St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ ChaseRace conditions have up to now required horses to have either finished in the first two in a hunters’ steeple chase on two occasions or won two open point-to-point races, or one of each, within the previous two-and-a-half years.
A condition has been added for this year only to allow horses who finish in the first four on two occasions in a hunters’ steeple chase between 20 January – 1 March 2021 to qualify. Horses who are already fully qualified do not need to re-qualify with the additional conditions. If a horse has had one run which qualifies, only one further run which qualifies is required.
Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase
Race conditions have up to now required horses to have in the previous two and a half years either:
- Finished in the first three in a hunters’ steeple chase on two occasions; or
- Finished in the first three in a hunters’ steeple chase on one occasion and won either another steeple chase (hunter’s steeple chases included) or an open point-point race during the current point-to-point season
A condition has been added for this year only to allow horses who finish in the first four on two occasions in a hunters’ steeple chase between 20 January – 22 March 2021 to qualify.
Horses who are already fully qualified do not need to re-qualify with the additional conditions. If a horse has had one run which qualifies, only one further run which qualifies is required.
A decision regarding the participation of amateur riders in these races will be made nearer to the time in line with government guidance at that point.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed a number of changes to the upcoming race programme, driven in part by the rise in COVID-19 infections across the UK and the ongoing government restrictions to try and contain the spread of the virus.
These decisions have been taken by the racing industry’s COVID-19 group which includes representatives from racecourses and horsemen.
Amateur riders will not be permitted to take part in races under the Rules from this Saturday, 16 January, onwards. This is in line with government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport. Existing races will have their conditions changed to allow for professional riders only until further notice.
Hunter chases will continue to be programmed but, in line with the restrictions outlined above will be open to professional riders only. This includes conditional riders.
With such a critical Covid-19 situation across the whole of the UK at present, strict compliance of government regulations is required in order for racing to continue. Regrettably, the title of “amateur” prohibits all amateur jockey participation.
The BHA and British racecourses working together from the start of the pandemic have enabled racing’s continuation due to their expertise and under strict covid protocols. We are very grateful to the BHA for their support in enabling experienced National Hunt amateurs to participate until now. It should be noted that no other amateur sports have been allowed during this current lockdown except for Olympic sports.
The preservation of Hunter Chases is good news in these challenging times, being an important part of the amateur National Hunt calendar. With the current cessation of point-to-pointing this is extremely beneficial with such a large number of racehorses currently at a standstill.
We all look forward to the lifting of lockdown and returning to normality as soon as possible.