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  7 July 2017  
Musselburgh issued with temporary licence


The BHA has today confirmed that it has granted a temporary racecourse licence to the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee for Musselburgh racecourse.


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Equine health and welfare
BHA position regarding the whip


Following comments on the use of the whip in British racing in the press and on social media, the BHA today issued the following statement:


British racing is fully committed to the welfare of its horses, and has a good record of continuous improvement in welfare standards. The BHA takes the lead for the sport in both setting and regulating the highest welfare standards and taking overall responsibility for influencing public perception, with the support of the wider industry via the sport’s “The Horse Comes First” campaign.

In 2011/12 the BHA carried out an extensive review regarding the use of the whip. That review included widespread industry and public consultation and polling and a review of the scientific knowledge available at the time. It concluded that, overall, there is currently a legitimate role for the whip in racing, and that with appropriate padded, cushioned design and controls on use, it does not compromise the welfare of horses during a race, and can be an essential aid to safety. However, the review also resulted in the introduction of several enhancements to our whip rules, many of which were in part influenced by public perception.

Since the introduction of those changes we have seen a significant cultural shift regarding whip use, and the number of whip offences have more than halved, despite the threshold for its use also effectively being halved.

Looking forward, the BHA is committed to the equine welfare agenda, which is one of our top strategic priorities. David Sykes was appointed to a new role as the sport's Director of Equine Health and Welfare in March this year. He is currently formulating an overall strategy for the sport which will be published before the end of the year. This will, of course, include a section considering whip usage, focusing on an evidence-based approach.

Across all aspects of equine welfare we are committed to research to better understand the science behind our sport and our participants, and whilst we also need to fully take into account public opinions and perception, which are crucial, it will be veterinary and scientific evidence which will be the starting point of our forward-facing welfare policies.


Contact: Jamie Stier

Industry support for Racing Staff Week

Racing Staff Week draws to a close tomorrow after a huge week of activities and events at 41 racecourses and in yards across the country.

A Racing Welfare initiative, the week aims to inform and engage horseracing followers and supporters about the passion, skill and dedication required to work with racehorses.

Throughout the week, the BHA and Careers in Racing have supported the many activities taking place, as well as conducted a 'golden ticket' giveaway. Thirteen tickets were hidden across racecourses and training centres, twelve of which were redeemable for a £100 voucher, while the 13th was an invitation for two people to the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards in 2018. Jim Boyle Racing's team is pictured above with their winning ticket.

BHA Board members, Laura Whyte and Rupert Arnold (Chief Executive of the NTF) were also out in support, with Laura presenting prizes at Windsor Racecourse on Monday, and Rupert attending the charity raceday at Doncaster today.

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Contact: Michelle Douglas

Judicial Panel
Members for disciplinary panel and licensing committee announced


Judicial Panel Chairman, His Honour Brian Barker C.B.E. QC, recently announced the 23 members and chairmen who will form his new Disciplinary Panel and Licensing Committee.


The newly-appointed panel members, who include Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer Jenny Pitman OBE, will be responsible for holding enquiries under the Rules, hearing appeals against racecourse stewards’ decisions and, where appropriate, imposing penalties in accordance with the Rules.


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Contact: Catherine Beloff

Revised Rules and terms of reference published


Following the appointment of 23 members to the new, merged Disciplinary and Licensing Panel, we published amendments to the Rules of Racing to reflect the new judicial structure.

We also published for the first time the terms of reference for each of the Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board.

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Contact: Catherine Beloff

Digital testing launched at Royal Ascot


All post-race tests at Royal Ascot were carried out on a new mobile app which minimises the risk of errors and creates a more secure, efficient and eco-firendly process. 


The project, which has been over two years in development, involves a device consisting of a microchip scanner and barcode reader attached to a smartphone and will now be used at all racing fixtures. 


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Contact: Brant Dunshea

BLOG: Stayers programme at top of agenda


Director of International Racing and Racing Development, Ruth Quinn, recently spoke at the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association annual seminar about British racing and breeding's collective responsibility to ecnourage the growth of the staying horse, "[for] the rich diversity of the race programme, maintaining variety in the gene pool and, as a consequence, the horse population, as well as safeguarding one of the most important, enviable and fascinating dimensions of British – and European – racing".


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Contact: Ruth Quinn

BLOG: Early release of two-year-old ratings


For the first time in 2017, we published the full list of two-year-old ratings before entries were made for the first nursery of the year at Haydock this week. 


Handicapper Graeme Smith explains why. 


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Contact: Graeme Smith


BLOG: Positive results from new jump starting procedures


Head of Raceday Operations, Emma Marley, reports on the success of changes to jump race starting procedures, introduced to simplify procedures and to provide greater clarity for starters and jockeys.


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Contact: Emma Marley

BHA news
Senior staff changes


Head of Stewarding, Paul Barton, will retire from his role at the end of 2017, calling time on a career in horseracing which spans more than 45 years. 


A former jump jockey, Paul has been responsible for modernising several aspects of stewarding, including the restructure of the raceday stewarding and the introduction of the stewards' secretary role, as well as working towards the implementation of improved technology to assist raceday stewarding decisions.


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Nigel Roddis, formerly the BHA's Betting Development Director, has been appointed Managing Director of the new racecourse-owned pool betting operation, a role he commenced at the start of July.


Nigel has worked on a number of important projects for the BHA, including the Authorised Betting Partner scheme and we wish him well in his new role.

Industry News
Graduate Development Programme commences


Twenty graduates this week commenced the prestigious British Horseracing Graduate Development Programme with an intensive two-week introduction to the industry, after which they will take up their eight-week industry placement. 


On behalf of the industry, we welcome all graduates to the programme and wish the best of luck as they embark on their career in horseracing. 


Contact: Zoe Elliott

Palace House a Museum of Year finalist


Congratulations to Palace House Newmarket which was named a finalist in the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 competition. 


Palace House showcases the rich history, science and art of our sport and was awarded £10,000 for being named a finalist. The winning museum, The Hepworth Wakefield, was announced on Wednesday evening.


View website

Contact: Ami Cosgrave

Racing Together / Racing to School
Dame Kelly Holmes Trust team day


The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is an important ally to the objectives of Racing Together (RT) to grow the sport’s community engagement work and its ability to help others. The charity recruits and retrains elite sportspeople to lead programmes in support of young people who are out of education, training, volunteering or employment.


RT was represented at the Trust’s annual Team Day in June – an interactive and inspirational event involving nationwide business partners. A full-on day of team building exercises centred on the Trust’s key values, including focus and resilience, and was led by former elite athletes.


“We wanted a practical action from this day for racing and a first plan is to host some of the Trust’s front-line staff at a Racing to School event, to show the opportunities we have in the sport to engage young people, and to share ideas on approach and delivery,” said John Blake, Racing to School Chief Executive.
John is pictured with Dame Kelly Holmes Trust Chairman, Mike Kelly.


For more information on RT and to share your community engagement events, please contact RT Community Engagement Manager, Adam Harman, on the details below.


Contact: Adam Harman


Racing Together: Action Group progress


Some new members were welcomed to the recent quarterly Action Group, including The National Heritage Centre and Racing Welfare. The Group continues to grow as it seeks to represent and benefit a wide range of interested organisations.


Racing Together has recently supported Racing Staff Week and the National Heritage Centre’s bid to win Museum of the Year and is looking to stage other events, including a Racing to School education day as a way to engage MPs with their local racecourses and the wider social investment efforts of the sport.


Contact: Adam Harman

Riders' Programme update


The results of the first evaluation of the Racing to School Riders' Programme have been very encouraaging. 


The programme was piloted last year, with the support of The Racing Foundation, and is designed to connect young people who already ride and/or have an interest in equine disciplines with racing and thoroughbred breeding. The interactive learning days focus on the many career roles the sport offers, as well as providing an understanding into the inner workings of raceday activity.

The charity works closely with colleagues at CareersInracing to engage equine colleges and Pony Clubs nationwide. Key findings include:

  • 78% of young people and 89% of adults agreed that the Riders’ Programme has increased their interest in watching horseracing on TV or at a racecourse
  • 93% of young people and 100% of adults agree that the Riders’ Programme has increased their knowledge of careers available within the industry

The results support the need and benefits to engaging young people, especially those who already have a keen interest in horses. Racing to School is continuing to run the Programme this year and, subject to funding, hopes to expand the number of participants.


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Contact: Ollie McPhail


Please find below links to other industry newsletters and news sites.

National Association of Stable Staff
National Trainers Federation
Professional Jockeys Association
Racecourse Association
Racehorse Owners Association
The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association
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