17 April: Three existing fixtures are set to begin at 12 noon in the coming weeks in a bid to assess the appeal to both betting shop and online customers for lunchtime British racing.
The initiative, supported by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, is designed to capitalise on increased footfall in betting shops during lunchtimes, while also providing betting opportunities for digital customers at a time when more of them may have the opportunity to place bets and watch racing.
The idea behind the trial is to try and maximise the revenue which can be generated from betting during the lunchtime period, with three different courses taking part. The three fixtures, which are already scheduled to take place in Wednesday afternoon slots, are at Southwell on 1 May, Newton Abbot on 29 May and Nottingham on 5 June.
The first race for all three fixtures will now be scheduled for 12 noon and with 30 minute gaps between each race, there will be four races scheduled to take place at each fixture before 2pm.
Andy Clifton, Racing Director at the Racecourse Association, said: “Given the way in which our industry is funded, putting racing on at times when customers have an appetite to bet on it is and always has been important, but that also needs to be balanced with the pressures on horsemen, the desire of racing fans to attend in person and our ability to promote the sport to both existing and potential new audiences.
“On that basis, we are grateful to Southwell, Newton Abbot and Nottingham for taking part in this latest trial of lunchtime racing, on which the betting data and the feedback from horsemen, racecourses and customers will be extremely informative”
9 April: Brendan Powell, who has trained over 600 winners under both codes and rode Rhyme ‘n’ Reason to victory in the 1988 Grand National, has ended 19-year training career.
7 April: ITV Racing’s coverage of this year’s Grand National achieved a peak audience of 9.6 million compared to last year’s 8.5m. The average was 5.43m, a 39% share of the terrestrial TV market. All three days coverage was up on 2018, and Saturday’s Opening Show average figure was 242,000, a 71% increase on last year.
2 April: The temporary injunction granted by the High Court to ban ticket touts operating in the vicinity of Cheltenham Racecourse has been made permanent. Clerk of the Course Ian Renton said: “This landmark ruling follows the success of the temporary injunction the courts put in place for the current season, which has reduced the incidence of touts at the racecourse to an absolute minimum
2 April: Annamarie Phelps, Vice-Chair of the British Olympic Committee and a former Olympic rower, has been appointed as the new Chair of the British Horseracing Authority. She will take up the post on 1 June. Annamarie is an experienced senior figure in British sport. She has worked for a variety of governing bodies dealing with complex political and regulatory issues and was the Chair of British Rowing until last year. She chaired the independent review into British Cycling in 2017. Annamarie competed for Britain at the Atlanta Games in 1996 in the women’s eight and was a world champion in 1993. She was awarded a CBE for services to rowing in 2016. This is her first role in horseracing. Annamarie Phelps said: “I relish the opportunity to work in British Racing. Everything I’ve seen and heard tells me that racing people are passionate about their sport, proud of its magnificent heritage and unified by a love of horses.
“I am looking forward to working with new colleagues at the BHA and across the sport. My priority is to help with the immediate challenges we face, but I am excited by the opportunities for racing to grow and flourish in the years ahead. I believe that collaboration is the key to success and am privileged to be given a chance to play my part.”
Annamarie was selected unanimously by the BHA’s Nominations Committee, which includes representatives nominated by racecourses and horsemen. Her appointment was approved by the BHA’s shareholders and the Board.
1 April: Injury has forced Group 1 winning Flat jockey Fran Berry to retire from the saddle with immediate effect. Berry, 38, suffered spinal injuries in a fall at Wolverhampton in January and, followong consultation with his surgeon, he has been advised to quit race-riding. A jockey 23 years, will now pursue other ventures, including media work. His Group 1 win came on Pathfork for Jessica Harrington in the National Stakes and won last year’s Chester Cup on Magic Circle and was awarded the Silver Saddle in the Sherga Cup at Ascot.
29 March: Former BetBright customers that had Ante Post bets (excluding Cheltenham Festival) voided when BetBright ceased offering gambling services on 5 March 2019, may choose to have their bets reinstated with BetVictor by 4 April. To do so, customers will be required to have a valid account with BetVictor
28 March: The Horserace Betting Levy Board has agreed an expenditure budget of £99.3m for 2019, a significant increase on the £85.3m budgeted for 2018. This includes a one-off £6.5m prize money grant for the 12-month period starting on 1 April 2019 in response to a submission from Racing. This set out that all racecourses were expecting to see a reduction in media rights income in 2019. While racecourses would absorb the majority of any loss, cumulative racecourse contributions to prize money were forecast to fall by £6.5m in 2019 compared to 2018. The one-off grant to prize money by the Board is to provide stability in the total prize money sum offered by British Racing to participants in 2019, in an environment of greater uncertainty regarding media rights income to the sport, principally from the retail betting sector.
27 March: Due to a temporary facilities issue, currently it is not possible for Market Rasen to broadcast pictures of today’s racing. Engineers have been called to the racecourse to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. Start of racing may be delayed – scheduled time of first race 2.10 .
26 March: 188Bet Closure Announcement:
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25 March: BHA issue findings of the disciplinary panel which overturned the 10-day ban given to amateur rider Declan Lavery at the Cheltenham Festival. These are the main points from the discussion and panel decision:
“Mr Naylor (BHA Director of Integrity & Regulation), contended that JERRYSBACK (IRE) should have been pulled up after it had jumped the second last fence. It had come almost to a halt, and that factor allied to the rapid loss of ground to the leaders on the approach to the fence should have conveyed to the rider that the horse was exhausted and had no more to give. That the horse was able to achieve sufficient momentum to jump the last fence was not, argued Mr Naylor, really relevant, because what the rider was doing in confronting the fence was subjecting the horse to an unnecessary risk to its welfare, and the Rule was directed at eliminating or at least reducing that risk. A rider should not as a rule be able to rely on events happening after he should have pulled up…
“The Panel cannot accept Mr Naylor’s submission that in deciding whether a horse had more to giv limited, if any, attention should be given to what happens after the critical moment when it is alleged the horse should have been pulled up. In many, perhaps in most cases, whether a horse at a certain stage has, or has not, more to give can only, or at least best, be judged by how it runs or performs afterwards. There will be occasions when the horse demonstrates that it is exhausted by, for example, refusing to jump the next fence, and the jockey may be adjudged at fault in asking the horse to jump. But when the jockey’s assessment, which often has to be made instantaneously, is that the horse is not exhausted and that is confirmed by the manner in which the horse jumps and runs on, that is surely evidence that must be considered and can be relied upon.
“As invited by Mr Mac Neice (representing Declan Lavery), we have given close attention to how JERRYSBACK (IRE) ran and performed after the second last fence. It got going again after a clumsy jump which almost totally removed its impetus and then jumped the last cleanly and willingly without being ridden hard into the fence. After the fence on the run to the finish there was a visible degree of acceleration which saw off the challenge of the 4th placed horse. In our view that was not the performance of a horse with no more to give. Furthermore though we will not attempt a definition of what constitutes “no more to give” we accept the burden of Mr Mac Neice’s submission that it requires a level of fatigue or exhaustion which would be likely to be detected by vets examining the horse at the finish specifically for the purpose of assessing whether its physical condition gives rise to concern and needs immediate treatment.
In the circumstances we are quite unable to find that Mr Lavery has been in breach of Rule (D)45.3. The finding of the Cheltenham Stewards and the suspension imposed must be quashed. Mr Lavery’s deposit will be returned.”
21 March: Newmarket Racecourses has agreed a new three-year partnership with Tattersalls that will see the auction house expand its sponsorship portfolio at the Home of Horseracing. Tattersalls increase their presence at the Moët & Chandon July Festival, not only continuing their support of the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares but adding the Group 2 Tattersalls July Stakes, for two-year-old colts and geldings, and the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes, a 12-furlong contest for three-year-olds and upwards.
21 March: Declan Lavery has successfully appealed against the ten-day ban he received after riding Jerrysback in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The disciplinary panel of Patrick Milmo QC, Chloe Fairley and Dr Lyn Griffiths found him not in breach of the rules, overturning the original finding and fefunding his deposit. Lavery said”I’m very relieved and didn’t think I’d done anything wrong”. Lavery was riding the Philip Hobbs-trained horse in the amateur riders’ race, finishing 47½ lengths third, and was banned for “continuing in the race when it appeared to be contrary to the horse’s welfare”.
After panel’s verdict, the BHA issued the following statement: “The BHA accepts the findings of the independent Disciplinary Panel in today’s appeal hearing. It is the view of the BHA that the Rules should be a proactive and preventative measure to avoid horses being put into a position of avoidable risk, and the stewards on the day acted in accordance with this. However, the finding of the Disciplinary Panel was that the current construct of the Rules indicate that the rider was not in breach of Rule (D)45.3.2. We will await their written reasons before commenting further on this issue. Stewards have to make immediate decisions in the midst of a sporting event. That is why an independent appeals process exists which offers a fair process for challenging stewarding decisions. A range of incidents happened during this race which the stewards had to consider. The other decisions have not been challenged at appeal. The Panel were also clear that the requirement of the Rules to pull up tired horses has primacy over the requirement to achieve the best possible placing, and that it is no justification to continue on a horse to finish placed in a race if doing so would be contrary to the horse’s welfare. This rule is 20 years old and was agreed by all groups in our sport who are represented on our Rules Committee. It has been invoked a number of times in recent years. It continues to be an important rule that demonstrates our commitment to protect the welfare of our horses. We thank Mr Lavery for the way he has conducted himself since the incident, and also trainer of the horse Philip Hobbs”.
21 March: The BHA has announced that Towcester’s fixture on 26 April has been cancelled. Bangor-on-Dee will hold an additional seven-race fixture on the same day.
20 March: Problems with lack of grass growth has meant that Ayr’s opening Flat fixture of the season on 1 April has been moved to Chelmsford. Last year’s opening Flat meeting was lost due to drainage issues. Before that, the 2017 Ayr Gold Cup fixture in September was cancelled, again because of a drainage problem.
13 March: ITV Racing’s coverage of the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival attracted the biggest viewing figures since records started in 2003. Live coverage peaked at 1.393m with an average of 982,000, a 13.9% share.
12 March: Forecast heavy winds have put tomorrow’s second day of the Cheltenham Festival under threat. The racecourse is saying Wednesday’s racing will hinge on at least one morning inspection, with the first scheduled at 8.00. If Wednesday’s meeting is abandoned Cheltenham will transfer the Wednesday card to Saturday. Potential wind speeds of around 50mph could place temporary structures in jeopardy. If it’s not possible to give a go-ahead to racingafter the first inspection, Cheltenham has not ruled out delaying when racegoers are allowed to enter the racecourse.
8 March: The Curragh fixture on 13 April, which was to be first after the track’s major redevelopment (pictured at last year’s Irish St Leger), has been transferred to Naas. This is due to delays in the redevelopment work. Racing returning to the Curragh is now scheduled for 6 May
7 March: 888 have announced they will honour BetBright customers’ ante-post bets on the Cheltenham Festival as a gesture of goodwill after purchasing the firm this week for £15 million. BetBright customers were told yesterday that all unsettled single bets would be voided and that unsettled multiple bets with winning legs would be settled as a winning bet, with remaining unsettled legs voided.
6 March: BetBright customers have been told the bookmaker will cease trading from 11.59 tonight, leading to the voiding of all ante-post bets. On Monday it was announced that online company 888 had bought BetBright’s sports betting platform for £15 million and that the bookmaker’s brand was not expected to continue. They did not, however, acquire the the business which runs the BetBright brand and it is this part of the company which is to cease trading. Unsettled multiple bets with winning legs associated will be settled as a winning bet, with the remaining unsettled legs voided. A spokesperson for the Gambling Commission said: “We have received a number of complaints about this matter and are making further inquiries.” BetBright said: “As a result of Dedsert entering into an agreement to sell its sports betting technology, customer accounts will be closing. BetBright has stopped accepting any deposits and wagers, and customers are being asked to withdraw their funds from their BetBright accounts. Any of the small number of ante-post wagers that settle beyond today, including all losing bets, will be fully refunded.” BetBright sponsorships included the BetBright Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and four races at the course on New Year’s Day, including the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase. The Prestbury Cup sponsorship will be run under the 888 name.
6 March: Gordon Elliott has said that Samcro will miss the Cheltenham Festival: “There is every chance Samcro could run again this season and there are a range of suitable races for him at other meetings, so hopefully we will see him back in action next month. Looking further ahead, we are looking forward to when he goes chasing in the autumn.”
5 March: ITV is set to continue its exclusive free-to-air coverage of racing for another four years, reports The Times, after opening talks with the Racecourse Media Group about signing an extended contract until 2024. It is understood that negotiations over a new £30m deal have reached an advanced stage, with both parties keen to agree an early renewal to the current contract, that still has 21 months left to run, in a major boost for the sport before next week’s Cheltenham Festival.
5 March: The price of the Racing Post will increase from £2.90 to £3.20 from Monday 11 March
4 March: 888, the online gaming and betting operator have bought bookmaker BetBright for £15 million. It is thought that 888, who said the purchase would enhance their “long-term prospects in the global sports betting market”, will cease to use the BetBright brand which ended advertising in the Racing Post last month. The acquisition was described as the “missing piece” in the 888 portfolio which already includes casino, roulette and bingo. The deal was worth £15m but it is not clear to what extent BetBright founder Rich Ricci will retain an interest in the business.
28 February: Arena Racing Company is set to temporarily transfer prize-money to its lower grade races to release levy board funding. The move comes after calls for a boycott of Arc tracks after it announced a reduction in prize money brought about by expected reduceed media rights caused by the closure of betting shops after minimum stakes in FOBTs were cut from £100 to £2. Arc arc a transfering £250,000 from higher quality races over the next month to increase prize money at the lower end, and it will unlock £428,000 in levy board funding it lost access to after slashing nearly £3m from its executive prize-money contribution. The temporary measures was agreed with National Trainers Federation president Ann Duffield.
26 February: Newmarket are introducing a new £120,000 bet365 Trophy, to create further opportunities for stayers at the July Festival. The race will be run over 1m6f. Prize-money in 2019 will be £10.8 million across its 39 meetings, with boosts to the value of three Pattern races. But the prize-money for the Cesarewitch is £350,00, down from £500.000, and means that plans for a £1m Cesarewitch have been abandoned.
25 February: Ed Chamberlin and Franceca Cumani of ITV Racing have been named Sports Broadcasters of the Year in the 2018 British Sports Journalism Awards. “Francesca and Ed – fresh, fun, knowledgeable and accessible. They’re a classic racing double act whose passion and insight shine through every race meeting,” said one judge.
The nominees were
Adrian Durham – talkSPORT
Ed Chamberlin & Francesca Cumani – ITV Sport
Gary Lineker – BBC Sport
Hazel Irvine – BBC Sport
Jonathan Overend – BBC Sport
Mark Pougatch – ITV Sport
Mike Wedderburn – Sky Sports New
ITV Racing were highly commended for their coverage of Royal Ascot in the live broadcast category which was won by Sky Cricket
25 February: France Galop has, this evening, issued a statement saying there has been an outbreak of equine flu in a yard in Lamorlaye, which is part of the wider Chantilly training area. The statement did not give details of the identity of the trainer, nor the number of cases or if any infected horse has raced in recent days.
Meanwhile Donald McCain’s yard has been given the all-clear following equine flu at his yard earlier this month, and his horses are free to race again.
21 February: Trainers have boycotted two races at the Arena Racing Company-owned Lingfield on Saturday in protest over prize-money. No runners were declared for the 5f novice stakes, and only Greybychoice, trained by Nick Littmoden, has been declared for the 1m novice stakes. Both races are worth £4,500. The protest is in response to Arc reducing prize-money by £3m following the cut in maximum FOBT stakes from £100 to £2 which Arc are expecting to result in betting shop closures and subsequent loss of media rights. Arc have also announced planned redundancies among its full-time staff
20 February: Eight-year-old Big Orange, winner of the 2017 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot has been retired by owners Bill and Tim Gredley after the flare-up of a leg injury – as well as the Gold Cup win, his single Group 1 victory, he raced around the world and amassed prize-money of £1.25m
19 February: Paul Nicholls trained his 3,000th when 7yo Capitaine won Taunton’s 2m0.5f handicap hurdle. It was Nicholls’ 2,960th British jumps winner to add to 11 British Flat successes, 25 Irish jump wins and four in France. On Saturday Nicholls sent out a career best eight winners.
Following hot on the heels of his career-best eight winners in a day on Saturday, Paul Nicholls secured another landmark on Tuesday when Capitaine became the 3,000th winner of the trainer’s car1.25meer.
16 February: Haydock stewards will hold inquiry into why Impulsive Star declared for Grand National trial 3.35 when vaccinations not up to date under new equine flu rules. Now 15 go
12 February: Simon Crisford reports the four horses who had previously tested positive for equine flu have now returned negative results. Further testing is to take place next week.
12 February: The BHA have announced that all 22 trainers who had runners at Ayr and were awaiting results are now cleared to run after a discussion between the BHA and its vet committee. All horses who ran at Ayr returned negative tests and the majority of other horses from those yards were also tested and all found negative
12 February: ITV Racing showing 10 races from four courses on Saturday
13.35 Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
14.10 Keltbray Swinley Chase (A Limited Handicap) (Listed Race)
14.45 Denman Steeple Chase
15.20 Betfair Hurdle
15.55 Betfair Steeple Chase
14.25 William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle Race (Grade 2)
15.35 William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3)
13.45 Betway Heedyourhunch Handicap Steeple Chase
15.00 Betway Kingwell Hurdle Race (Grade 2)
13.55 Redmills Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
12 February: The BHA is planning to schedule additional alternative races to assist trainers in their preparation for upcoming major festivals for horses that may miss out on essential prep or qualifying runs in the coming ten days owing to the new vaccination requirements. The additional opportunities will be scheduled on or around the weekend of February 23, in order that horses which require vaccinations over the coming days will be eligible to run. Like all other British races they will be available only to horses who have been vaccinated within the last six months.
12 February: Sizing John, winner of the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will not run again this season after a setback says trainer Jessica Harrington
12 February: In preparation for a return to Racing the BHA’s Racing department has identified a number of key Jump races which should be rescheduled. The identified races are based on their place in the Pattern and races which provided essential opportunities. The following races have been rescheduled:
Kingmaker Chase from Warwick to Sandown 15 February
Betfair Hurdle from Newbury to Ascot 16 February
Denman Chase from Newbury to Ascot 16 February
Listed Mares Hurdle from Warwick to Haydock 16 February
Listed Mares Chase from Exeter to Wincanton 16 February
12 February: The BHA has announced that a risk-managed return to racing will take place from Wednesday this week. After consultation with its veterinary committee, and based on the latest tests conducted by the Animal Health Trust, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, last night confirmed that racing could resume, but only with strict biosecurity controls in place.
11 February: BHA announce racing will resume on Wednesday
11 February: Ahead of the BHA’s announcement scheduled some time after 10.30 tonight, the Irish racing body has said British horses can race in Ireland if they meet certain requirements
11February: BHA daily update regarding equine influenza case. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will make a decision later tonight as to whether racing can return in Britain on Wednesday. This decision will be made following a meeting of the industry veterinary committee. The decision will follow further assessment of the data already gathered as well as the results of the latest testing which is taking place at the Animal health Trust (AHT) today. To allow the committee to have access to the most recent evidence, it will not meet until this evening. This means that no decision should be expected before 10:30pm at the earliest. The veterinary committee includes representation from the BHA, Animal Health Trust (AHT), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Racecourse Association (RCA) Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) and independent expertise. Analysis is ongoing at the AHT, in line with a prioritisation plan based on the potential exposure of horses to a horse that has tested positive (for example at the fixture at Ayr on 6 Feb), or to a horse from a yard returning a positive test. Swabs will continue to be collected and tested from other horses, but some have been fast-tracked to help inform this evening’s decision making process. Separately, a specific plan is being formed as to what the clearance process will be for individual yards to return to racing. The details of this plan will be confirmed as part of the decision making process for any return to racing. Should the decision be taken to return to racing on Wednesday, declarations for any fixtures staged will be at 10am on Tuesday. The BHA would provide further updates regarding the declaration process for any fixtures staged on Thursday and beyond.
9 February: The horseracing community in Newmarket is tonight being informed that four positive tests for equine influenza have been returned this evening in vaccinated thoroughbreds at the yard of a licensed flat trainer in Newmarket. The affected yard is that of Simon Crisford, who has been named in order to ensure that the Newmarket community is aware of the yard at which an infection has been identified. No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard – including by the media – and anyone who wishes to travel to the yard is advised to first contact the trainer’s office.
9 February: BHA update regarding equine influenza case 9 Feb 2019
The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has informed the BHA that it has received approximately 2,100 nasal swabs and tested and reported on 720. So far, other than the six at the yard of Donald McCain already identified, there have been no further positive samples returned.
This includes the swabs taken from horses at the yard of Rebecca Menzies. One horse – which tested negative – had previously been identified as suspicious and high risk after testing at a different laboratory. All these horses will remain under close surveillance, analysis of tests from the yard is ongoing and testing of the suspicious horses will be repeated.
Wider analysis is continuing with thousands more swabs expected to be received and tested over the coming days.
8 February: Jockey Robert Havlin likely to be out of action until the end of next month after breaking his collarbone and fracturing a rib in a fall at Kempton on Wednesday. He came off from the fatally injured Beehaar after a coming together with the Charlie Bennet ridden Lieutenant Conde. Bennet received a 12-day ban.
8 February: BHA update regarding equine influenza case 8 Feb 2019 BHA Features Welfare:
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has committed to providing meaningful daily updates regarding the ongoing situation in relation to the equine influenza case.
The analytical work is continuing, which involves testing of horses from a number of trainers yards across the country and seeking to isolate any issues we find in a bid to ensure that the situation is under control as much as possible, to protect the health of animals and to put racing back on the road as soon as is safely possible.
We will provide material updates with regards to any new cases and give as much information as is relevant and appropriate each day, while also respecting confidentiality and privacy of potentially affected people.
The BHA team is working closely with trainers, the NTF and other parts of racing, from who we have had excellent levels of cooperation. The Animal Health Trust is processing tests in their hundreds as quickly as possible and, alongside the project team at the BHA, is working throughout the weekend to help build an overall picture of the issue.
This process will continue over the coming days in order that an informed and evidence-based decision can be made on Monday as to whether racing can return on Wednesday. In the meantime we ask that everyone involved in the sport continues to be vigilant, restrict where possible all movements of horses and people and maintains the highest standards of biosecurity.
Of the samples that have been returned so far, three further positive results for equine influenza have been reported, all from the original affected yard. This means that in total six positive tests have been returned from the horses tested so far from this yard. Of the four horses from this yard who competed at fixtures this week, one has returned a positive sample so far – Raise A Spark, who competed at Ayr on 6 February. The test on this runner relates to a sample taken the following day, and the horse showed no clinical symptoms on raceday.
It was in anticipation of this risk that the decision was taken by the BHA to restrict movement of horses on a precautionary basis at the yards of 120 other trainers who competed at these fixtures, and to suspend racing until Wednesday at the earliest. This action was taken to mitigate the impact of any of the runners which competed at these fixtures being found to be infected by the virus.
We request that media respect that the priority of the yard in question now is to follow the necessary procedures to minimise the impact of this incident, and therefore not to contact the yard. Any queries on this matter should be directed to the BHA. The BHA would like to reiterate its thanks to the trainer for his cooperation and the responsible manner in which he has deal with this issue.
Testing of horses at the 120 yards which have been put on hold is continuing on an ongoing basis. No further positive samples have been reported as yet.
However, a separate suspicious case – which has not yet been confirmed as a positive sample – has been identified at another yard. No links have been identified between this yard and the original yard. This yard had runners at the fixtures at Newcastle on 5 February and Wolverhampton on 6 February, and as such the BHA has taken the further precautionary steps of placing all 54 yards of trainers who also had runners at these fixtures on hold and initiating testing of horses from these yards.
The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust in order to manage the logistical challenge of providing sufficient swabs and handling the volume of tests being sent through the facility, considering that testing of a total of 174 yards is now taking place. It will not be possible to test every horse from every yard before the end of the weekend, but we will work with trainers to identify any priority or risk horses and ensure that they are tested. This will all form part of the picture that is built in order to assist the decisions that will be made on Monday.
8 February: BHA chief executive, Nick Rust, gave an update on the outbreak of equine flu when interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today. He said: “By Monday we’ll be in a strong position to make a definitive decision about when racing will return. I don’t know whether we’ll need a few more days or not but I strongly believe this will be for a few weeks at most because we’ve acted quickly.
“We’ve got to get a hold of the situation swiftly – if we play russian roulette with the evidence we’ve got we could have a problem for three to six months and no-one would thank us for that.
“This is a serious form of flu that debilitates horses, who are at the centre of our sport. The welfare of our horses is really paramount above all economics.
“Our worst fears are that we don’t contain it quickly, but by taking the action we have in the last couple of days we’re effectively locking down movement of racehorses and instructing trainers to take extra special precautions.
“We’re fairly confident that with swift action we will manage to restrict it, but until we know the full extent of the distribution of the virus, we won’t know where we are.Rust believes the sport has a “very good chance” of beating the flu off with preparations under way for the potential rescheduling of key races from this weekend.
“Racehorses are among the best looked after animals in the country and super athletes. They have attention from their trainers and the 14,000 people that look after them every day, as well as veterinary checks all the time, so we’re on top of this, and the reason we have discovered the equine flu is because of that care and attention.
“We’ve got a very good chance of managing this flu off and not concerned we’re facing a mutation.
“A lab in Newmarket is processing hundreds of tests now and as those results come back we start to map them to see whether horses have been infected at the races this week. Once we know whether there has been a spread or not, we’ll be in a much better position to know where racing is.
“We’re making preparations for alternative arrangements so that when racing returns there will be alternative races in place for horses who have missed prep runs for Cheltenham or Aintree.”
7 February: Five races from Naas being shown by ITV Racing on ITV4 on Saturday
13:35 Cavan Developments Maiden Hurdle
14:10 BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase
14:45 EMS Copiers Rated Novice Hurdle
15:20 O’Driscoll O’Neil Handicap Chase
15:55 Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle
7 February: British racing will not resume until 13 February at the earliest. Decision on Monday on whether or not suspension will then continue.
7 February: The BHA have put over 100 yards into lockdown for testing following the outbreak of equine flu
7 February: Trainer Donald McCain’s has confirmed that three of his horses have tested positive for equine flu, a statement released on behalf of the trainer said. “I have been aware of the recent news about equine influenza outbreaks in France and Ireland, and over the last couple of days, I have been concerned about the health status of a small number of horses in the yard. Their welfare is at the front of our minds so at my request our veterinary surgeon examined them regularly and we have followed his advice on testing and treatment. It was by following this protocol the positive results for equine flu came to light Wednesday evening”
7 February: Under the new rules coming into force in May online gambling operators must verify a customer’s age before they can deposit funds or gamble with their own money, a free bet or bonus. The same will apply to free-to-play gambling games. Previously, operators have been allowed 72 hours to undertake age verification checking.
7 February: Wolverhampton have abandoned their card on Saturday evening. Horse that tested positive for equine flu ran there earlier in week and track undertaking deep clean after which racing can’t take place for four days
7 February: Irish racing to continue as Irish horses which raced in Britain on Wednesday did not travel back and remain here in isolation yards.
7 February: Update from BHA on equine flu “We are aware that people want to know the situation as regards racing tomorrow and this weekend and we will seek to provide more clarity as soon as we are able. It is likely that any definitive decisions on whether racing can take place tomorrow will be taken later this evening.”
6 February: The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), with unanimous support of the BHA’s industry veterinary committee, has taken the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses on Thursday 7 February 2019. This is following the BHA being informed this evening by the Animal Health Trust of three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard.
Horses from the infected yard have raced today at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland. The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease and the action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease.
The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required. The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.
The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision making. The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow. We recommend that any trainer who has concerns about the health status of any of their horses should contact their veterinarian.
About Equine Influenza
Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys occurring globally caused by strains of Influenza A virus. It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in UK equines and disease symptoms in non–immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.
The outbreak at the infected yard follows the identification of a number of equine influenza cases across Europe and the UK, including several in vaccinated horses. Following the recent outbreaks guidance was sent to trainers to inform them that all horses which have not had a vaccination against Equine Influenza within the last six months should receive a booster vaccination, and that trainers should be extra-vigilant with biosecurity.
However, equine influenza can be highly contagious and – unlike other infectious diseases – can be airborne over reasonable distances as well as be transmitted indirectly, including via people. There are no known consequences for humans associated with exposure to the disease.
The Animal Health Trust are the equine monitoring agent for disease surveillance in the UK and information is posted on their website and twitter feeds.
6February: Trainer Gordon Elliott has been hit with a £3,000 fine for schooling in public. Braid Blue finished fifth in today’s 2m novice hurdle at Ayr where the stewards held an inquiry into its running and riding. The six-year-old was found to have stayed on under “apparent tender handling”, finishing nine lengths behind the winner Galvin, also trained by Elliott. Jockey Henry Brooke received a 14-day suspension (20 February 20 to 5 March), whilst Braid Blue cannot run for 40 days.
6 February: Jockey Charlie Bennett has been suspended for 12 days for careless riding at Kempton in an incident which caused Robert Havlin’s mount to clip heels and fall.
6 February: Chelmsford has has to postpone trials of its new turf course until the spring of next year. The delay has been caused the recent cold weather and turf racing at the Essex track is unlikely to begin until Autumn 2020 at the earliest.
6 February: The European Pattern Committee has upgraded a number of races in the Flat Black Type programme in Great Britain. The City of York Stakes, held each year at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, moves from Group 3 to Group 2. Newmarket and Chelmsford have also received enhancements to their Pattern and Listed races. Newmarket’s Pride Stakes over 10 furlongs for three-years-old and upwards fillies and mares, and the Zetland Stakes over the same distance for two-year-olds, both run in October, have been upgraded from Listed to Group 3 level. Chelmsford will now host two Listed races, with a new six-furlong contest for three-year-old fillies being added to their programme for the first time this year. Despite efforts on the part of British Racing, it was not possible to secure an upgrade to Group 1 status for the British Champions Long Distance Cup on QIPCO British Champions Day for 2019.
4 February: The penultimate fence on Cheltenham’s Old Course is being moved 10 yards up the hill, closer to the winning post and further from the bend with aim of reducing fallers. It should give horses another two strides before they meet it, but still leaving a sufficient distance before the final obstacle is encountered. The move comes after feedback from jockeys.
4 February: Changes have been made to the Cheltenham Festival running order so that conditional/amateur rider races finish the day’s card
The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019 race programme
Champion Day – Tuesday, March 12 (Old Course) – prize money £1,175,000
1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £125,000
2.10pm Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (Grade1) 1m 7f 199y £175,000
2.50pm Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f £110,000
3.30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £450,000
4.10pm OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (registered as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1)2m 3f 200y £120,000
4.50pm Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 44y £70,000
5.30pm National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) (Grade 2) 3m 7f 147y £125,000
Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 13 (Old Course & Cross Country) – prize money £1,020,000
1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (registered as the Baring Bingham) 2m 5f £125,000
2.10pm RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y £175,000
2.50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f £100,000
3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 99y £400,000
4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y £65,000
4.50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (registered as the Fred Winter) (Grade 3) 2m 87y £80,000
5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y £75,000
St Patrick’s Thursday – Thursday, March 14 (New Course) – prize money £1,195,000
1.30pm JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (registered as the Golden Miller) 2m 3f 166y £150,000
2.10pm Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y £100,000
2.50pm Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (registered as the Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y £350,000
3.30pm Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000
4.10pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 127y £110,000
4.50pm Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y £90,000
5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase 3m 2f £70,000
Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 15 (New Course) – prize money £1,200,000
1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y £125,000
2.10pm Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y £100,000
2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (registered as the Spa Novices’ Hurdle) 2m 7f 213y £125,000
3.30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000
4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2f 70y £45,000
4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y £110,000
5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4f 56y £70,000
4 February: From this year if a horse has already been declared to run in a race at the Cheltenham Festival it cannot be declared to run in another Festival race. The same applies if it has already run in another race over the four days.
4 February: Tomorrow’s meeting at Sedgefield has been abandoned
1 February: Afternoon update from Sandown Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper: Massive effort by Sandown team to re-cover shaded ground this afternoon now all frost and snow gone. Chase now Good to Soft, Soft places and Hurdle Soft, Heavy places. No inspection planned.
Your guide to Scilly Isles Chase https://t.co/tw4p4JeoVZ
1 February: Chelmsford is to hold an extra fixture on Monday afternoon
1 February: Tomorrow’s meeting Wetherby has been abandoned
1 February: Morning update from Sandown’s Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper: “2-3cm snow overnight. No frost in ground. Snow seems wet in nature and looks to be shifting. Will monitor improvement and update accordingly. No inspection currently planned for Friday.”
31 January: Tomorrow’s meeting at Chepstow has been abandoned
31 January: This weekend’s fixture at Musselburgh has been abandoned
31 January: Today’s meetings at Fakenham and Wincanton and tomorrow’s fixture at Catterick have been abandoned
30 January: Chelmsford is to hold an extra meeting comprising six races on Saturday afternoon as weather forecasts suggest turf racing might struggle to take place at scheduled fixtures
30 January: Today’s meetings at Leicester and Plumpton have been abandoned – Lingfield GOES AHEAD
29 January: Arena Racing Company has told it’s aproximately 650 permanent staff to expect compulsory redundancies due to lost media rights revenue from the closure of betting shops caused by the cut in maximum stakes for FOBTs, from £100 to £2. Arc had already announced a cut in its executive contribution to prize-money by £3 million in 2019 due to the changes to the sport’s funding. The Racing Post understands voluntary redundancy packages will be made available but compulsory job losses were very likely. The group, which also employs over 3,000 casual staff and runs 16 courses including Chepstow, Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle and Windsor, did not comment when contacted by the Post.
29 January: Wolverhampton will host an additional all-weather on Friday. Lingfield is holding an inspiration at 8am tomorrow for their all-weather fixture due to forecast snow and frozen ground, whilst Leicester and Plumpton also inspect in the morning. Today’s Lingfield fixture was abandoned.
25 January: Hugh McIlvanney, one of the greatest sports journalists of all time, has died, aged 84. Writing mostly for The Observer and The Sunday Times, he covered many sports over 60 year including England’s 1966 World Cup victory. His writing also featured racing and, in 2017, he received the Sir Peter O’Sullevan award.
24 January: Following the receipt of further submissions from the National Trainers Federation (NTF) and individual trainers, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has taken the decision to delay the implementation of an approved rule which requires all Jump horses to race fully shod, which was due to be introduced from 1 February. The delay is being implemented for a period of no less than six months, in order to allow for a number of actions to take place to further inform the debate on this matter. The decision to introduce this rule was based on a two-year project which included evaluation of data and consultation with representative bodies including the NTF and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA). The rule was intended to improve human and equine safety by reducing the chance of a horse slipping.
24January: In a year which saw 69 abandonments in the first six-months, 5.77m racegoers attended a racecourse in 2018, a 3% drop from 2017 according to Horserace Betting Levy Board. In 2018, 1,471 race meetings were staged with an average attendance of 3,924. This figure includes the provision of rearranged meetings to compensate those lost to the weather, and compares to an average of 4,256 in 2017, down 3.5%. It was the third year running that the figure has fallen and is nearly 8% lower than 2015. Advance ticket sales grew by 3%. Those who booked to attend more than one race meeting increased by 13%. All racecourses enjoyed an average 4% increase in attendance at what the Racecourse Association calls premium fixtures.
24 January: Today’s meetings at Fakenham and Wetherby are cancelled. More encouraging sounds are coming from Huntingdon and Doncaster who are hopeful that racing will take place on Friday.
23 January: Today’s meetings at Catterick and Hereford have been abandoned
18 January: Three horses trained by Nicky Henderson have been withdrawn from their races at Haydock due to concerns about their health. Tests have shown Brain Power, Angels Breath and Valtor to be under the weather and they have been taken out of the Unibet New One Hurdle, Sky Bet Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle and Peter Marsh Chase.
18 January: Today’s meeting at Musselburgh has been cancelled – the ground is frozen with temperatures not set to rise sufficiently.
STATEMENT FROM IAIN JARDINE RACING ON A TRAGIC INCIDENT AT THE STABLES ON TUESDAY 15 JANUARY
It is with great sadness that the Team at Iain Jardine Racing wish to report that we suffered a tragic accident on our grass gallops on Tuesday morning which has resulted in the untimely death of a member of our team, Natasha Galpin (22), as well as the loss of a horse.
16 January: The British Horseracing Authority has today confirmed that four of Southwell’s upcoming fixtures have been moved as follows
18 February – moved to Newcastle
22 February – moved to Chelmsford City
28 February – moved to Kempton Park
5 March – moved to Wolverhampton
This is because the original fixtures were due to be floodlit and there has been a delay in installing floodlights at Southwell. All four will remain evening fixtures, with race programme details and further fixture information available via the the BHA’sRacing Admin
15 January: Tom O’Brien failed to weigh in on Shaw’s Cross, trained by Paul Henderson, and was disqualified from his third place position in the 3.40 at Lingfield. The horse was 9/4 joint favourite. Fourth past the post Cougar Kid was promoted to third and took the £610 prize money. O’Brien was banned seven days for his mistake .
15January: Noel Fehily has had keyhole surgery to remove his appendix and will be out of action for what at the moment is an unknown period. Fehily gave up his mounts at Kempton on Saturday because of stomach pains, and was then rushed to hospital.
14 January: Quick Grabim and Great Field, both trained by Willie Mullins, will miss the Cheltenham Festival. Quick Grabim, who was available at around 12/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, will not run because of a stress fracture. Great Field, 20/1 for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, will miss the race as he’s not got over his last-fence fall in the Paddy’s Rewards Club ‘Sugar Paddy’ Chase at Leopardstown last month.
13 January: Corals and Ladbrokes are extending their best-odds guaranteed offer to UK and Irish betting shop customers from tomorrow. Customers will be able to take advantage of the offer from 8am each day if they have a Coral Connect or Ladbrokes Grid card. The move is seen as a way of boosting high street business to help counter the effect of the upcoming FOBT stake cut.
12 January: A large group of protesters occupied Chantilly race course for more than two hours today, resulting in five races being postponed until tomorrow morning. Four of the scheduled nine races were due to get underway. An estimated group 500-strong group were part of the ‘gilets jaunes’, or yellow jackets, who initially protested against a proposed petrol tax rise but has grown into an anti-government movement.
11 January: The Irish Field has reported Irish trainers John Oxx and Patrick Prendergast, who have adjoining stables at the Curragh, are to join forces ahead of the 2019 Flat season. The operation will be run in Oxx’s name.
11 January: Replays of Irish races run before 1 January are avilable again to broadcasters and websites. Agreement between At The Races (who held the rights), Horse Racing Ireland, Racing TV (who took over rights to cover Irish racing) and SIS (who broered the new rights deal), was reached this morning. A row broke out when arrangements were not in place regarding archived Irish races but the parties involved have now issued a joint statement: “We are pleased that all parties have reached an agreement which will enable the Irish digital archive to be restored to websites.
9 January: Gigginstown House Stud racing manager Eddie O’Leary has announced that Samcro has been found to have a lung infection and will undertake a course of antibiotics for ten days with participation at Cheltenham appearing very unlikely. Described as “a quite deep infection”.
8 January: A hairline fracture to a hind leg incurred whilst winning at Plumpton on Monday means Guillaume Macaire’s Master Dino will not run in the JLT Novice Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
7 January: Towcester’s 13 February fixture has been moved to Musselburgh the BHA has announced. The fixture will comprise six-races, with race programme details and further fixture information available via the Racing Admin website in due course.
4 January: Champion apprentice Jason Watson has been taken to hospital following a fall at Kempton. His mount Teresita Alvarez clipped heels shortly after the start and jettisoned him into the ground. He initially knelt but then lay down. He was stretchered off the course after about ten minutes and taken to hospital. He talked to doctors and could move his arms and legs.
3 January: Willie Mullins has announced that Next Destination has been ruled out for the season having suffered a setback which the trainer says is not a serious problem. A winner of two Grade 1 races as a novice hurdler last season, the 6yo was 10-1 for the RSA Chase. He will go chasing next season.
3 January: Nicky Henderson has said that, following a disappointing run in the King George VI Chase, Might Bite is to have his palate cauterised today as was the case two years ago and will not run again before the Cheltenham Gold Cup
3 January: Racing goes ahead at Ludlow today
2 January: Ludlow is holding an inspection at 6.45 tomorrow to see if their fixture can take place
2 January: Bear’s Affair, the runner-up in the Foxhunters’ Chase at Aintree last April, could be awarded the race according to the horse’s connections who understand that winner Balnaslow’s is to lose the race, The Guardian has reported. Owner George Barlow told a group of reporters at Cheltenham that he had been told to expect he would be awarded the Aintree race. “The Irish horse is being thrown out, apparently. But I haven’t officially been told. It’s common knowledge in the racing world but they haven’t actually told me. I might get a letter any day. I’ve been waiting 230 days for the official result.” Graham McKeever, who has trained Balnaslow for the past two years, gave a short response when asked about possible disqualification. “I don’t really want to talk to you about it,” he replied. “Thanks for the call.”
1 January: Sizing Tennessee, winner of Newbury’s Ladbrokes Trophy, has a leg injury and will not race again this year. Trainer Colin Tizzard reportd that the 11yo is sore and that the injury happened almost straight after Newbury.
1 January: Paul Nicholls, who started training in 1991, today became the tenth winningmost trainer in Britain with 2,951 victories following Greaneteen winning at Exeter.
January: Trainer Stuart Edmunds has said Maria’s Benefit, available at around 20-1 for the Racing Post Arkle, will not race again this season
31 December: As of 8.00 tomorrow morning, Sky Bet are going non-runner no-bet on all of the Cheltenham Festival’s 28 races
31 December: Summerville Boy, winner of last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, has suffered a hairline fracture to his off-hind leg and will miss some of the season. Lack-lustre runs in Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth and then the International Hurdle at Cheltenham led trainer Tom George to seek tests which showed an injury to the femur.
30 December: Jockey Andrew Tinkler broke three bones in his face at Doncaster on Saturday when unseated by Atlanta Ablaze trained by Henry Daly. The incident happened at the ninth fence in the Listed mares’ chase and Tinkler fractured his jaw, cheekbone and eye socket. It is too soon to know how long he will be side-lined.
28 December: Congratulations to jockey Richard Johnson who has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List released tonight. He said: “It’s a massive honour to receive something like this and it’s also a bit of a shock. It’s amazing to get talked about in the same breath as a lot of these people and it was certainly a nice surprise when I got home and saw the letter. Racing has been my whole life and I think it’s for duration more than anything else. It’s very special to be recognised by the Queen on a national level and it’s something I’m very proud of.”
27 December: Carlingford Lough, winner of five Grade 1 chases, collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack after finishing twelth in Leopardstown’s Paddy Power Chase. The 12yo won the Grade 1 novice chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas festival, and went on to back-to-back successes in the 2015 and 2016 Irish Gold Cup.
27 December: ITV’s coverage of the King George VI Chase at Kempton attracted an audience of over 1.1m
19 December: Following last week’s announcement by ARC that they were cutting prize-money by £3m in anticipation of reduced media rights income caused by expected betting shop closures, Jockey Club Racecourses will be freezing next year’s prize-money contribution. It is the first time in a decade that JCR have not made an annual increase. JCR has planned a £27.1m prize-money contribution for 347 fixtures. However, the decision will be kept under review should the government cut in maxim stakes for betting shop FOBTs from £100 to £2 cause a greater number of shop closures than expected. ARC have planned for 1,000 shops to shut.
18 December: Southwell’s first two floodlit meetings are be transferred to Wolverhampton (29 Jan) and Newcastle (Feb 5) because of problems with power supply and cable installation. It will be announced in the new year if the fixtures on February 18 and 22 will also have to be moved.
17 December: Today’s Guardian has reported that the Gambling Commission is investigating an allegation that Ladbrokes agreed to pay nearly £1 million to the victims of a problem gambler who funded his habit with stolen money, in return for not informing the industry’s regulator. The newspaper says that a British man, who ran a property business in Dubai, had stolen from clients in order to gamble. Five of them complained to Ladbrokes who, The Guardian says, agreed to pay a combined sum of £975,000 in return for not making a complaint or report to the Gambling Commission. A spoksperson for the Gambling Commission said: “We are inquiring into this matter to ascertain the full circumstances. Our rules clearly set out that gambling businesses should work with us in an open and cooperative way. This includes disclosing to us anything which we would reasonably be expected to know. If we find that a gambling business is not doing this then we will consider what action is necessary.”
Ladbrokes Coral said: “We do not comment on individual customer cases . However, where we are able to agree a settlement to a dispute with a customer, it is a standard provision of such settlement agreements that the parties keep its content confidential. This is quite separate from our own reporting obligations to the Gambling Commission. We notified the commission of this case at the relevant time and will continue to co-operate with our regulator.”
16 Decembe: The prize-money contribution by Arena Racing Company is to reduce next year by £3m, a move being made in anticipation of the effect of the government’s cut in FOBT minimum stakes from £100 to £2 and subsequent betting shop closures. This in turn will lead to lower media rights income for racecourses. The money would have been used to release extra prize-money from levy funds for lower level races. Arc hopes that levy cash, estimated at £4.5m, will continue to be made available to them to counter the impact on owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff. The changes, which come into effect on 11 February, will impact over 3,400 races and means Arc’s total prize-money contribution will be £15.3m, 16% down on this year.
14 December: Thomas Kerr has been appointed editor of the Racing Post, taking over from Bruce Millington who steps down having been in the editor’s chair for 11 years. Kerr, 31, is a former HWPA Racing Writer of the Year and caused controversy in his weekly column when he wrote that keeping the whip was a risk to racing given public sensitivities
He said “I am thrilled and honoured to take over the reins at the Racing Post. Racing brims with colour, drama and intrigue and I can’t wait to get started leading the company’s exceptional team of journalists as we expand and enhance our coverage of a wonderful sport. The Racing Post has a loyal but demanding readership that expects and values the highest standards of reporting, analysis and data. I am absolutely committed to meeting the needs of our customers and providing the best racing and betting coverage around, whether it’s in print or on one of our digital platforms.”
12 December: Lester Piggott, 83, who has been undergoing tests in hospital for over a week, has been fitted with a pacemaker to help his heart beat normally. Piggott, who has had heart problems in the past, is hoping to be out of hospital at the end of this week.
12 December: The BHA has published the findings of its review into the fatalities of six horses at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with recommended changes designed to improve welfare. These include reducing the maximum field sizes in two-mile chases from 24 to 20, and the ending of weight-claiming allowances in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle to encourage the engagement of experienced jockeys.
There are 17 recommendations, including
- Reducing the maximum field size in all two-mile chases run at Cheltenham from 24 to 20
- Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle race conditions changing to remove all rider weight-claiming allowances
- Pre-race veterinary examinations increasing to all runners at the Festival
- BHA liaising with participants to identify additional contributory risk factors, including analysis of faller rates by trainers and jockeys at all jump racing and having dialogue with those who have a significantly higher than average incidence of fallers
- The industry being required to support a major research project to create a predictive model for identifying risk factors for all jump racing, including horse history and performance, rider and training factors, with any risks addressed and mitigated appropriately
10 December: William Buick has appealed against the severity of a six-week ban after pleading guilty to reckless riding aboard the unplaced Pakistan Star in Sunday’s Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. The jockey steered his horse at an acute angle when not clear of the favourite Waldgeist who, along with Red Verdon, was severely hampered putting an end to both their chances of winning. As well as the ban, Buick was fined £2,000.
6 December: Jockey Kieran Shoemark, 22, is set to receive a lengthy ban after failing a drugs test, reports tomorrow’s Daily Mail. The jockey, who has ridden for the Queen, has issued an apology through the Professional Jockeys Association, who say he has accepted full responsibility for his mistakes. It is thought he tested positive for cocaine.
6 December: Sandown Park have announced a plan to undertake redevelopment and upgrades to the course. Much of the infrastructure is ageing and in many areas the facilities are tired. In contunued commitment to drive benefits to racegoers, the horseracing industry and the local community, the Jockey Club has identified the need to make a significant investment in an upgrade programme over the next few years. The enhancements would include improvements to the racetrack itself, new stabling and racing staff accommodation, a new hotel and plans to improve and refurbish many areas of the main grandstand. They are also proposing a new family enclosure and year-round community recreational area and improved car parking. There is also to be a pedestrian link between nearby Esher station and Esher town centre. To facilitate this, the course is proposing five discrete pockets of development around the edges of the Sandown Park site, on previously developed land or land adjacent to existing buildings which account for 5.1% of the whole site in total.
5 December: Sky Sports Racing, the new name for At The Races, is to launch in HD on 1 January with a presenting team including Matt Chapman, Mick Fitzgerald, Alex Hammond, Luke Harvey, Hayley Moore and Jason Weaver. The line-up of pundits will include Josh Apiafi, Kevin Blake, Jamie Lynch and Freddy Tylicki. The following will also be part of the Sky Sports Racing presenting team: John Hunt, Mike Cattermole, Gina Bryce, Sean Boyce, Zoey Bird, Martin Kelly, Simon Mapletoft, Anthony Ennis, Darrell Williams, Robert Cooper, and John Blance. The core schedule from At The Races will continue, with Get In remaining on Sky Sports Racing. Monday Night Racing will be launched with Alex Hammond as presenter. Sky Racing will cover Ascot and Chester, taking over from Racing TV – both will also be on ITV. Sky Sports Racing will also have exclusive coverage of French racing.
1 December: Racing UK has today announced that it will become Racing TV – as the channel will cover racing from all 26 Irish racecourses from 1 January 2019. From next year, Racing TV will broadcast live racing from 61 racecourses, equating to over 70% of British and Irish racing. Gary O’Brien will spearhead the Racing TV team in Ireland, where he will be joined by Kevin O’Ryan, Kate Harrington, Ruby Walsh and Donn McClean, while new programming and extended broadcast hours, including a daily Mark Your Card preview programme, are also being introduced. Each of the 61 racecourses will have its own dedicated live stream available on Racing TV Extra, a feature of Racing TV’s digital platform. This means live coverage of every British and Irish race in its entirety, as well as uninterrupted paddock, going down and unsaddling coverage, will be available to Racing TV members. Racing TV Extra will be available via the website, mobile and TV Apps for all members, whose membership fee will remain the same.
27 November: France Galop has announced that Maison-Lafitte racecourse will close at the end of 2019. The track, situated in the western suburbs of Paris andwhich dates back to 1878, hosts two of the country’s important Classic trials, the Prix Djebel and the Prix Imprudence, as well as thr Group 2 Prix Robert Papin and Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte.
19 November: HexhamRaces is to stage Towcester’s 20 December fixture
19 November: Juddmonte have announced that Enable is to remain in training next year with a third Arc as her target
14 November: A power cut hit Chelmsford racecourse taking out the floodlights mid-way through the third race, which was declared void as the judge couldn’t determine the winner – the meeting was then abandoned
14 November: KPMG, the administrators of Towcester racecourse, have confirmed the sale of key assets, including 10 horseracing fixtures, buildings and the greyhound track, to Fermor Land LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated last month and understood to be linked to Hesketh family. It is thought that they will seek an external organisation to manage the track
14 November: Hereford Rcecourse is to hold an additional fixture on Monday 19 November
12 November: Hard ground has forced the abandonment of Leicester’s fixture on Monday 19 November – Wolverhampton will host an additional meeting on Wednesday 21 November
6 November: Cross Counter, trained by Charlie Appleby’s and under a masterful ride by Kerrin McEvoy, giving Britain and Godolphin a first success in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with British trained horses coming home second and third, with both Charlie Fellowes’ A Prince Of Arran and Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo looking the likely winners but cut down by Cross Counter coming from virtually last place to win with something in hand
4 November: Douvan, who was victorious in his first 13 races but beaten in his last three races and becoming susceptible to injuries, has suffered a further setback and wont now race this season.
2 November: Paddy Power Betfair’s report for the third quarter period shows underlying earnings up 3% at £104m with revenue up 10% at £483m
1 November: Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has resigned in protest at the government’s delay in cutting the minimum stake on Fonts – in the Budget it was announced the reduction from £100 to £2 would not take place until October next year
30 October: A £50m deal has been agreed between Britbet, the racecourse owned pool betting operation, and the Tote to work together with a single pool. The Tote brand will remain in use on racecourses but Britbet will manage the on-course operation. Pools at Ascot and Chelmsford, who have separate operations, will also feed into the single Britbet/Tote pool
24 October Taunton’s fixture next Thursday has been cancelled due to hard ground
24 October: The High Court has granted Cheltenham a temporary injunction to ban ticket touts which will run until June – this is an early victory for the racecourse in its fight to have touts banned permanently and will have consequences for both other courses and sporting venues if successful
24 October: Following a positive test by the BHA for a beta-blocker drug on the Mick Easterby trained Ladies First, two contracted workers at Newcastle racecourse have been suspended – the filly was 6/4 favourite for a 1m handicap but faded in the race, finishing eighth of nine, 22 lengths behind the winner, and a routine dope test was ordered
22 October: Luca Cumani has announced he will be retiring from training at the end of the year, having held a licence for 43 years. He has trained out of Bedford House, Newmarket, for all that time and his big successes include two Derby winners, Kayhasi in 1998 and Hugh Rise in 1998. The stables are to be put up for sale and Cumani, 69, will concentrate on running Fittocks Stud.
22 October: William Hill have sold all 82 of their racecourse pitches to on-course bookmaker Sid Hooper for what is believed to be a deal worth around £2m. Hills say they will concentrate their racecourse activity on the 40+ betting shops they now run. Ladbrokes/Corals are now the only major layer with a significant on-course presence.
21 October: Jockey Sean Quinlan has been handed a 12-day ban for taking the wrong course on Red Giant in the Durham National at Sedgefield this afternoon when he missed out the second last fence when the 8/1 shot had a three-length lead
19 October: Andrea Atzeni will not be riding at Ascot tomorrow – a two-day suspension imposed by France Galop originally ruled him out of riding but the BHA said he could take part in Champions Day, but they have since been advised they cannot alter the France Galop ban and he misses the meeting
18 October: Teenage jockey Jason Watson has ridden his 100th winner of the year on Beverley Bullet at Redcar
17 October: Down Royal racecourse in Northern Ireland is in danger of closing at the end of the year. The current management team, the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders, has said in a statement that after the track’s flagship November meeting, operations would be wound down and, on expiry of their lease on 31 December 2028, the land would be handed back to owners, the Dublin-based Merrion Property Group. The Corporation said it would try and seek an alternative site. However, Merrion then issued a statement saying it was their intention to continue racing at the Maze venue with plans to to “enhance the experience of racegoers and other stakeholders while contributing to the local and wider community”. Down Royal currently holds the title of Horse Racing Ireland Racecourse of the Year and racing has taken place there since 1685.
16 October: Richard Johnson rode his 100th winner of the season when Arty Campbell won at Hereford today
16 October: Two times Arc winner Enable is to compete in the Breeders Cup Turf on 3 November, after which a decision will be made on whether or not she trains on
15 October: Today’s meeting at Windsor has been abandoned due to heavy rain
12 October: BHA has announced eight new floodlit fixtures following high elimination rates: 18 Oct, Wolverhampton; 24 Oct, Chelmsford; 1 Nov, Newcastle: 7 Nov, Chelmsford; 15 Nov, Kempton; 21, Wolverhampton: 29 Nov, Kempton; 5 Dec, Newcastle
11 October: Sylvestre de Sousa has been handed an 18-day ban under totting-up rules for whip misuse, with the ban commencing on 20 October, Champions Day at Ascot
10 October: The winner of our competition to win a copy of the limited edition print of Native River winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup was Steve Hill of London W1 who was first out of the hat with the correct answer of Kateson – thank you to all who entered and please look out for more competitions. The print was kindly donated by equine artist Elizabeth Armstrong and more details of her work can be found at https://www.elizabetharmstrong.co.uk/
8 October: An additional jumps fixture is to be held at Bangor-on-Dee on 11 October to replace the abandoned meeting at Exeter
7 October: Enable retains her Prix de l’Arc de Triumph title
6 October: Next Thursday’s fixture at Exeter has been cancelled due to firm/hard ground
6 October: Winx wins the Turnbull Stakes, her 28th consecutive win – seemingly short of room she showed devastating acceleration when the gap opened and won by a greater margin than you thought possible, with the race caller saying “how’s your blood pressure after that?”
3 October: Next Thursday’s meeting at Thurles has been cancelled due to hard ground
28 September: Bruce Millington is stepping down as editor of the Racing Post after 14 years but will continue to contribute and will become a consultant to the Post – he will leave when his successor is appointed
26 September: Sky Racing, the new name for AtTheRaces from next year, have won exclusive rights to show French racing from 2019
25 September: Former jump jockey and tireless clerk of the course and then general manager at Ayr until 2015, Sam Morshead, has died aged 63 after a long fight against cancer
25 September: Richard Johnson today rode his 3,500th winner in Britain and Ireland when He’s A Goer won a 2m handicap at Warwick
24 September: An announcement is expected, possibly as early as next week, that the Tote and Britbet will enter into a partnership to continue to operate a combined pool – Britbet, owned by 50 racecourses, was due to launch in July but put their pool betting operation on hold when investment vehicle Alizeti purchased 25% of the Tote from owners Betfred with the aim of being majority owners in five years. Alizeti have pledge to reduce take-outs and increase pool betting’s share of the market. See http://www.theracinghub.com/of-course/counting-crucial-decision-racing/
18 September: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Poet’s Word, the 5yo trained by Sir Michael Stoute, has picked up an injury and will not race again this season – his longer term future is under consideration
16 September: Announcements made that Alpha Centauri and Saxon Warrior are being retired
16 September: Alpha Centauri suffered an injury to her right front fetlock in yesterday’s Matron Stakes at Leopardstown – the Jessica Harrington trained star miler is now at an equine centre for further assessment
15 September: ITV Racing is to cover the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
15 September: The Racing Post’s sponsorship of the 1m Group 1 race for two-year-olds at Doncaster is ending after 28 years – the new sponsors for a five-year term are Vertem stockbrokers
2 September: Lah Ti Dar has been confirmed as a runner in Saturday’s St Leger and is 13/8 favourite with Paddy Power (see our Horse-By-Horse guide with updated odds)
12 September: The BHA has extended Musselburgh’s licence to race until the end of the year whilst East Lothian council assesses tenders to take over management of the course – which is thought to be between Arc and Jockey Club Racecourses – the successful completion of which would mean a licence being granted for 2019
11 September: Top stayer Order Of St George has been retired at the age of six announces Aiden O’Brien
11 September: Salisbury’s fixture on Friday will go ahead and will comprise eight races on the straight course, with the round course out of action due to damage to the track caused by chafer grubs – four races are transferred from today’s abandoned meeting and four as per Friday’s scheduled fixture, to be run over 6f to 1m
11 September: Administrators KPMG have had enquiries from 25 interested parties for the purchase of Towcester racecourse as a going concern and are aiming to complete a sale next month in order to hold November’s scheduled fixture
11 September: Towcester’s 10 October fixture has been transferred to Southwell
11 September: Today’s meeting at Salisbury has been abandoned due to track problems caused by chafer grubs
10 September: Epsom’s fixture on Thursday has been cancelled due to damage caused to the turf by chafer grubs
10 September: 25 firefighters from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue tackled a blaze today at Huntingdon Racecourse in the grand stand – the fire broke out in a hospitality area earlier this afternoon and was extinguished at around 5pm, everyone was safely evacuated and there is no risk to forthcoming fixtures
4 September: Jockey P J McDonald, the regular partner of top filly Laurens, fractured his heel and ankle when a horse he was due to ride on Monday first fell then reared up in Newcastle’s parade ring giving McDonald a nasty fall – he will be x-rayed in two week andfaces a lengthy spell out of action
4 September: Wells Farr Go, an 8/1 shot, will miss the St Leger after suffering a set-back
3 September: Richard Guest’s travelling head lad, Richard Thompson, has been found save in Ripon after going missing for over a week and is now spending time with his family in Scotland
3 September: Sky Bet have joined Bet Victor in offering a minimum bet to win guarantee to customers – the offer, limited to Class 1 to 3 races, will let punters back horses to win £500
2 September: Jockey Dave Crosse, who returned to race-riding a fortnight ago following a three-month layoff due to a fractured thumb, faces a further long-term spell on the sidelines after a work-riding fall in which he suffered multiple fractures to his humerus
29 August: The British Horseracing Authority has announced a new structure for racecourse stewarding, to be introduced from 2019, to “improve standards of officiating, increase consistency, transparency, and accountability”.
The new raceday panel will be structured as follows:
- BHA Chief Steward: the senior member of the panel, will have overall control of raceday functions, explain decisions and will be the escalation point (replaces stipendiary stewards)
- Stewards’ Panel Chair (voluntary position): chairs enquiries, ensures procedural fairness, provides objective challenges and endorsements (replaces honorary steward chairperson)
- BHA Steward: takes up the traditional duties of the stipendiary steward
Assisting the raceday panel are a BHA Assistant Steward, who will take on an enhanced role to that of the current stewards’ secretary, and a BHA Raceday Assistant who will provide a multi-task role involving a variety of raceday regulatory duties
29 August: Next Monday’s fixture at Chepstow has been transferred to Ffos Las whilst remedial work takes place on the Chepstow track to make it safe following the abandonment of their meeting on bank holiday Monday after three race
28 August: Bath racecourse is hoping that an inspection tomorrow will give it the all-clear to hold its fixture next Wednesday – the course which does not have a watering system has lost five meetings over the summer due to the ground being too fast, but the going is now reported as good, good to firm in places after rain
27 August: The Curragh’s racecourse management has been told that its new parade ring, part of major redevelopment, is too small and must be enlarged for safety reasons
27 August: Chepstow has had to abandon its bank holiday Monday fixutre after two races because of unsafe ground
24 August: Alastair Down today bid farewell to the racing press room – racing and the Racing Post will miss the great wordsmith
24 August: Arena Racecourses are seeking planning permission for a multi-million pound redevelopment of Newcastle racecourse including new racing staff accommodate, refurbished bars and other spectator facilities and new conference facilities
24 August: Stradivarius wins the Lonsdale Cup Stakes at York with Frankie Dettori aboard and picks up the £1m Weatherbys Hamilton bonus
23 August: Sea Of Class is now joint-favourite with Enable for the Arc at 9/2 after a two-and-a-quarter length victory over Coronet in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, showing an impressive turn of foot when making good progress two furlongs from home and accelerating inside the final furlong under James Doyle to win for trainer William Haggas on his birthday
23 August: Mark Johnston becomes Britain’s winningmost trainer with 4,194 victories when Poet’s Society ridden by Frankie Dettori won the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York – Johnston had his first winner in 1987 and has amassed £53m prize money
23 August: Popular Irish trainer Mick O’Toole has died aged 87 having been in poor health for a number of months – he trained numerous Cheltenham winners including the Gold Cup with Davy Lad in 1977 and, on the Flat, the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Eclipse with Dickens Hill in 1979
22 August: John Gosden trained Roaring Lion made it a Knavesmire double when he added to his Dante victory by winning the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York, beating favourite Poet’s Word, who encountered traffic when the field raced to the stand side – jockey Oisin Murphy went for the lead a furlong and a half from home and whilst James Doyle on Poet’s Word found a clear passage the electrifying speed of Roaring Lion meant he couldn’t lay a hand on him
21 August: Jockey Sean Flanagan is sidelined for an expected six weeks following a fall at Tramore on Sunday when he fractured his tibia – the injury could have been a lot worse were it not for new back protectors introduced recently in Ireland
20 August: Flat racing is set to continue at Balinrobe racecourse following a review of track safety after racing was abandoned during a meeting last week when jockeys reported that horses were slipping
18 August: WINX WINS RACE NUMBER 26
17 August: Twelve people have been arrested in Southampron and Gosport following violence at Goodwood in May – 10 aged between 18 and 23 have been charged with violent disorder and a 39 year old man has been charged with actual bodily harm
16 August: The owners of Towcester racecourse are putting the company into administration – a statement said the company had been experiencing trading difficulties and was in talks with its stakeholders and advisers. The BHA says it is yet to receive formal notification but when it does it will consider the implications for the track’s licence and fixtures. Towcester is scheduled to hold three more horse racing fixtures this year.
15 August: Dual classic winner Enable is to skip York and make her return to the racecourse as a 4yo in Kempton’s September Stakes as a prep race before she attempts to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second year – she won emphatically at Chantilly last year but the 2018 race returns to Longchamp
14 August: Average racecourse attendance for the first six months of the year increased by 3% to 3,911 per fixture from 3,787 for the same period in 2017; total attendance at 704 fixtures was 2,753,397, down from 2,798,479 last year when there were 739 fixtures – the numbers are from the Racecourse Association who said attendance held up well against “the beast from the east” bad weather which led to 69 abandonments and other fixtures added at short notice, but in 2016 there were 707 fixtures attracting total attendance of 2,805,467 and an average of 3,968
14 August: Robin Bastiman has been disqualified for three years, having been found guilty of administering a raceday injection of cobalt, a prohibited substance, to a horse in April 2016 – the licence holder, his daughter Rebecca, has been fined £5,000 for allowing a horse to run when it had been administered a substance other than normal raceday feed and water, and for failing to record administrations of treatments
13 August: Racing at Ballinrobe was abandoned after three races following jockeys’ concern at ground conditions in places where they said horses were slipping – the abandonment has serious consequences for the dual purpose track and it’s viability if Flat racing were to end
13 August: Bath’s 22 August fixture has been switched to Brighton due to the continuing dry weather – Brighton now race 21 and 22 August
12 August: Frankie Dettori steers the Martyn Meade trained Advertise to success in the Pheonix Stakes at the Curragh – odds-on favourite Sergei Prokofiev was last
12 August: Alpha Centauri wins the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois for Jessica Harrington with Colm O’Donnoghue aboard
11 August: The Shergar Cup Team Prize at Ascot went to the Girls team of Hollie Doyle, captain Josephine Gordon and Hayley Turner (pictured) who also won the individual Silver Saddle – the Girls beat the European riders 76 points to 70, whilst Turner had 39 points to beat Brazilian Joao Moreira by a point. Japanese jockey Yutaka Take was stood down after hurting his wrist in the mile-and-a-half race when his mount Majeed died from a heart attack
10 August: The Premier Enclosure at Brighton was evacuated today after high winds caused part of the stand’s roof to come loose, racegoers were moved to the Grandstand enclosure – minutes later Roy Rocket became the track’s winningmost horse
3 August: William Hill have announced a pre-tax loss of £820m for six months to 27 June 2018 (£93m profit last year) as a result of a £900m write-down of the value of the company’s operation after the Government changed the maximum FOBT machine stakes from £100 to £2 – Hills say this will mean 38% of its shops will become loss-making with a negative effect on operating profits of between £90 and £100m per year. Revenue grew by 3% to £803m, less than the write-down
3 August: Unibet, sponsors of today’s Golden Mile at Goodwood, have announced an extension to their sponsorship of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham for another five years – the firm absorbed the Stan James brand into their business last year
1 August: Bath’s fixtures on 8 and 18 August have been transferred to Chepstow due to the continuing dry weather