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Bailey asserts trainers and owners should take lead in care of retired horses

Kim Bailey insists it is the responsibility of his fellow trainers, and owners, to ensure ex-racehorses are properly cared for throughout their lives.

Bailey, who has trained the winners of all the top National Hunt races in a career stretching over more than 30 years, described the covert footage of abattoirs broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama programme as “horrific” and “horrendous”.

He stressed too, however, that it is incumbent on those who own and look after horses in their racing years to do all they can to help provide a safe and comfortable home for them afterwards.

Monday night’s Panorama documentary broadcast scenes of horses about to be euthanised at an abattoir in Swindon – reporting many had arrived there after gruelling and inhumane transportation from Ireland.

The British Horseracing Authority has responded by calling urgent meetings to discuss the troubling issues with industry leaders, including the independently-chaired Horse Welfare Board, and their counterparts at Horse Racing Ireland.

Bailey told Sky Sports Racing: “You can keep re-funding and adding more funds as long as you want to – but the end product is it is up to the trainers, I believe, to make sure the horses they have in their own care find a home afterwards whereby they can be looked after and treasured for the rest of their lives.

“I think it’s something trainers need to point out to owners that, when they get involved in racing, they are as responsible as we are to make sure those horses – when they leave racing – have a future.

“You just can’t get involved in a horse and say ‘well, actually it’s stopped racing now – I want to get rid of it’.

“They’ve got to hold on to responsibility themselves. It’s a dual responsibility, from the trainers’ point of view and the owners’ to make sure we look after where horses go after racing.”

Also crucial, Bailey believes, is the administrative infrastructure which allows the movement of ex-racehorses to be properly tracked.

Kim Bailey (left) with Harry Topper after his victory in the 2014 Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury
Kim Bailey (left) with Harry Topper after his victory in the 2014 Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I think it’s incredibly important,” he said.

“We pass on horses on a regular basis – I think we’ve moved on about 20 this summer.

“We interview the people who are taking the horse on, (and) we get references from the people who are having them.

“They have to keep in touch with me during the entire time they have the horse. If at any stage during that period they find they can’t cope, for financial reasons or they find the horse is not suitable for them, the horse has to come back here – and then we can try again.”

One such horse was Bailey’s former Grade Two-winning chaser Harry Topper.

He added: “Harry Topper – who was a very good horse for me some years ago – we rehomed him three times.

“The third time, we found the ideal home for him in Ireland with a person who used to look after him when she was here.

“They go from here with a view that, if it doesn’t work out, they have to come back – so they can’t disappear.”

Enhanced governance by racing authorities can only help further.

“You can certainly push on the governing situation,” said Bailey.

“They have a microchip – horses are, like a human, (in that) they have a passport. They are there to see if we can trace where they’ve gone to.

“How far do you go to regulate the situation?

“There are always going to be (cases) whereby horses do not end up in the ideal home – and a decision has to be made as to what happens to that horse.

“But it should be a joint decision between the owner and trainer as to what you do next.”

Bailey was especially concerned by Panorama’s reports that many horses – including former top chaser Vyta Du Roc – had to endure transportation from Ireland to the abattoir in Swindon.

“I thought that was probably the most horrific part of the whole programme,” he said.

“I’m sure Ireland have their own abattoirs – (so) I cannot understand why horses had to be dragged from Ireland to Swindon. It made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

“I think that’s one area we need to really push to find out why that happens – because (the horse) should never have been in the situation it was, to go from one country to the next.”

Panorama’s abattoir has caused great consternation – as have claims that contaminated horse meat found its way into the human food chain via fraudulent practice.

The Food Standards Agency, which regulates abattoirs, responded in a statement which read: “Upholding animal welfare and the safety and authenticity of the food we eat is a top priority for Government.

“The Food Standards Agency and Defra work closely with food businesses and slaughterhouses to ensure that animal welfare is maintained at all stages of food production and that all our food is correctly labelled and safe to eat.

“The FSA has asked Panorama to supply the footage that has been obtained during this investigation. If there is any evidence of mistreatment of animals, they will take action and investigate thoroughly.”

Bailey added: “The programme showed racing in a bad light, but it also showed the abattoir world is in a far worse place than we are.

“Their welfare regulations are obviously not as stringent as they rather hoped they are.

“To see what we saw last night – which was nothing to do with racing – is just awful, and you have to work on the theory that the abattoirs need to get themselves under control, because what they showed us last night was just horrific.

David Menuisier agrees with his fellow trainer Kim Bailey about the responsibility of care provided to ex-racehorses
David Menuisier agrees with his fellow trainer Kim Bailey about the responsibility of care provided to ex-racehorses (PA)

“Anybody who has to watch those sort of scenes, it’s horrendous to see.”

Flat trainer David Menuisier underlined his belief too that trainers owe a debt to their former charges when their racing days are over.

He said: “I think the pictures we saw last night were absolutely disgusting.

“People who are in the sport are basically there because they love horses, they are animal lovers – and what we saw last night (in the abattoir footage) was just atrocious.

“I’m trying to rehome a horse now who I’ve cared for three or four years. I’ve had a few phone calls, but I want to meet the people and make sure they are right for him before anything is agreed.

“I think we possibly need to look at better traceability for horses after they leave racing, but many horses do go on to have a happy retirement.

“We are nothing without them, and we owe it to them to make sure they have happy lives. We need to make sure from A to Z, like humans, they are cared for and treated well.”

BHA calls urgent industry meetings on Panorama content

The British Horseracing Authority will hold urgent meetings with the independently-chaired Horse Welfare Board, and other industry leaders, to discuss the content of a BBC Panorama investigation.

The BHA will also contact colleagues at Horse Racing Ireland after the Monday night programme, entitled The Dark Side of Horse Racing,  broadcast covert footage filmed inside one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs – which it is claimed showed rules surrounding the slaughter of horses being breached.

The programme reported that horses had been transported from Ireland to the UK with an injury before arriving at an abattoir – which is against the approved practices and is an issue the BHA will look at as a “matter of urgency”.

A statement from the BHA, referencing the welfare standards, read: “This includes transporting horses over long distances to an abattoir, especially if these have injuries, which is not acceptable under the British racing industry’s guidelines for euthanasia.

“The Food Standards Agency, which regulates abattoirs, is responsible for maintaining standards of animal welfare. We would support them if they decide there is evidence of mistreatment of animals which requires investigation, given the public concern that may arise from this programme.

“The British racing industry, and the 7000 and more staff who look after our horses day-in, day-out, across Britain, are proud of the unparalleled standards of love, care, attention, and respect our horses receive. Where end-of life decisions are being considered, we want these to take place in accordance with the euthanasia guidelines developed by the industry’s Horse Welfare Board over the last 12 months. These aim to ensure that horses’ welfare is protected and that all available options for rehoming are examined.

“Our sport has set out its wider approach to equine welfare in a strategy published in 2020, which the programme chose not to highlight. One of the core aspects of this strategy is collective lifetime responsibility, and the report identified the need to further enhance our record in the fields of aftercare and traceability.”

The BHA also stated that significant steps had been taken since the publication of the strategy – including a review and recommendations for the funding of the aftercare sector.

The statement spelled out that industry discussions of the issues raised are set to take place on Tuesday.

It added: “The BHA and other leaders from the British racing industry, including the independently-chaired Horse Welfare Board, will be meeting tomorrow to consider further the issues raised by this programme.

“We will also be in contact with our colleagues in Ireland.”

Another claim in the programme was that contaminated horse meat was finding its way into the human food chain via the fraudulent practice of switching microchips inside horses to evade passport checks which may show an animal had been treated with Bute.

In response, the Food Standards Agency said in a statement: “Upholding animal welfare and the safety and authenticity of the food we eat is a top priority for Government.

“The Food Standards Agency and Defra work closely with food businesses and slaughterhouses to ensure that animal welfare is maintained at all stages of food production and that all our food is correctly labelled and safe to eat.

“The FSA has asked Panorama to supply the footage that has been obtained during this investigation. If there is any evidence of mistreatment of animals, they will take action and investigate thoroughly.”

Horse Racing Ireland responded after the programme too, stating: “Horse Racing Ireland unreservedly condemns the practices shown in the images from the Swindon, UK abattoir, portrayed this evening in the BBC documentary Panorama.

“HRI supports calls for an investigation by the relevant UK authority into this abattoir.

“This footage showed both animal and human health issues and is not reflective of the care that racehorses receive in the horseracing industry throughout their lives.”

A further statement from the National Trainers Federation also condemned the practices depicted in the covert footage.

It read: “The scenes at the abattoir shown in Panorama tonight were sickening, and the National Trainers Federation (NTF) has no hesitation in condemning those practices. We note that the programme produced no examples of horses trained in Britain suffering a similar fate at this or any other abattoir.

“Britain has a well-established and highly esteemed programme for rehoming racehorses trained in this country. Managed by the industry’s charity Retraining of Racehorses, the programme has successfully expanded the market for racehorses to move on to new careers away from the racecourse. Such is the demand, our trainers tell us that they have no difficulty finding good new homes for retired racehorses.

“Along with all other stakeholders and participants in British horseracing, the NTF fully supports the industry’s Horse Welfare Strategy published in 2020 under the auspices of the independently chaired Horse Welfare Board.

“The strategy notes that ‘Euthanasia can…sometimes be effective in preventing unnecessary suffering and avoiding a welfare problem’.

“British trainers take a responsible and compassionate approach with racehorses that have long-term injuries. If a vet recommends euthanasia, their aim would be to carry it out at the trainer’s premises in a professional and humane way in accordance with the industry’s euthanasia guidelines.”

‘Some level of reform’ likely to whip rules before start of next Flat season

Chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea is anticipating “some level of reform” to the whip rules next spring after the British Horseracing Authority’s public consultation on the issue is completed.

The consultation begins on Thursday as an online questionnaire opens for a period of 10 weeks, with the BHA seeking to gather responses to a number of set questions related to whip rules and penalties, as well as the opportunity to provide more detailed, freeform suggestions or comments.

Respondents will be asked to consider what the rules should allow in terms of permissible use, whether the existing penalty framework provides sufficient deterrent to prevent rule breaches, whether disqualification should be considered as a penalty for rule breaches, whether international rules should be harmonised and whether engagement with the sport would change if the whip rules were changed.

The consultation was announced in February 2020 after the Horse Welfare Board published its five-year strategy for the sport, which recommended the process to examine the use of whips for encouragement in racing, with action “ideally” taken by the end of October 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed implementation of that plan, but with the online questionnaire set to be followed by focus groups and detailed discussions with relevant parties, recommendations will then be determined by the Whip Steering Group and undergo further engagement before being presented to the BHA board for consideration and approval in early 2022.

Dunshea underlined any rule changes would be given a “bedding-in period”, but would expect any amendments to be implemented “before the start of the Flat turf season” next year.

He said: “The HWB itself recommended that as a minimum penalties should increase and the industry members’ committee and BHA board all endorsed the recommendations of the report, so I think on that basis whilst nothing has been pre-determined, no decisions have been made and no options are off the table, I think it would be a reasonable expectation there would be some level of reform as a consequence of this process.”

People can respond either as individuals and/or to submit the views of collective groups, organisations or bodies, although Dunshea quelled any suggestion of possible manipulation of the results by groups with a vested interest as an “external insight company” has been engaged to help analyse and interpret the data.

The BHA's chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea
The BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He explained: “We are of course alive to the fact internet surveys can be influenced by organised groups of individuals who may attempt to skew the numbers, but our third-party external firm is very experienced at understanding and analysing information as it comes in and this sort of thing is something we can easily identify through the process.”

In a media briefing, Dunshea pointed out the HWB recommendation was to examine the penalty structure around rule breaches rather than a “referendum” on use of the whip.

He added: “I want to emphasise, this is not a polarised yes/no debate or vote or referendum on whether the whip stays or goes. That’s really important to note. The responses are a guide that will be considered by the steering group. Ultimately it’s a decision for racing to make.”

Julie Harrington, chief executive of the BHA, believes the consultation offers the opportunity to “facilitate a positive, open debate” on the issue of the whip.

She said: “At a time when societal and political views are constantly changing, the future health of our sport will depend in part on the maintenance of social licence and the trust that the public and politicians have in us.

“The racing industry must be willing to listen to and understand a range of perspectives if it is to prosper and safeguard its long-term future.

“Moreover, we must have rules and a penalty structure which are viewed as fair to participants and the betting public, which encourage riding within the rules and which deter rule breaches.

“By carrying out this consultation we are looking to signal and facilitate a positive, open debate about this important issue for our sport from the viewpoint of perception and fairness. We encourage everyone with an interest in the subject to take part in the consultation. This is your opportunity to be heard.”

Dr Jerry Hill awarded MBE

Dr Jerry Hill, the British Horseracing Authority’s chief medical adviser, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Hill has been honoured for his services to British horse racing during the coronavirus pandemic.

He played a pivotal role in devising the new protocols needed for the industry to resume on June 1 in 2020.

Hill said: “I am genuinely humbled by this award. British racing’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a truly collaborative one, and the industry has shown what it can achieve when it pulls together.

“I believe that this award reflects the hard work and commitment of many people across the sport.”

Annamarie Phelps, chair of the BHA, said: “This award recognises Dr Hill’s remarkable achievements on behalf of the racing industry.

“Jerry’s priority throughout the COVID crisis has always been to put the health of racing’s participants, racegoers and the general population first.

“This has similarly been the case throughout his six years as BHA chief medical adviser, during which the sport has made significant progress in the field of participant health and wellbeing.”

BHA chair Phelps vows to ‘see things changing’ as racing focuses on diversity improvement

British Horseracing Authority chair Annamarie Phelps believes her sport has been right to avoid “hypocritical” statements, and is instead taking effective steps to bring much-needed improvement in its diversity and inclusion policy.

Phelps, speaking to Sky Sports Racing on the anniversary of the death of George Floyd which sparked international protests, is placing her faith in a joint industry commitment to formalise change.

In Sky’s documentary The Uncomfortable Race, broadcast on Tuesday morning, concerns were voiced by a selection of young people from ethnic-minority backgrounds with aspirations to make their careers in racing.

Callum Helliwell, a former employee of Great British Racing and Goffs UK, was dismayed when there was no direct public response – as in many other sports – from the BHA or other racing industry leaders when the Black Lives Matter movement came to prominence a year ago.

Phelps explains it was a considered decision not to do so, because the sport did not believe it was in position to make a “grandiose statement” in good faith.

She said: “It wasn’t that we didn’t think about it.

“Racing did discuss what we should do in the immediate awful moment a year ago, and it would have been really hypocritical of us I think – at that time – to have said anything enormously public and meaningful about standing alongside our black communities when actually we don’t have very much ethnic diversity in the sport, and we had done probably at that time very little to try to be more inclusive.”

Instead, she believes, telling changes are afoot since.

“I think what the last year has taught us is that there are things we can do,” she added.

“There’s a whole raft of things, at all sorts of different levels, which are much more meaningful to those people, I hope, working in our industry than a grandiose statement which we (would have) had nothing behind at the time.”

Helliwell was, however, among those disappointed that racing did not instigate a public gesture of solidarity with BLM.

He said: “As a black person, if I see a man with a knee on his neck who cannot breathe, being filmed and killed in front of people – again by a police officer, in broad daylight, and racing can just ignore that and continue on like nothing has happened rather than just put in a single bit of acknowledgement … then what on earth are you going to do when something else happens?

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Brighton, sparked by the death of George Floyd
People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Brighton, sparked by the death of George Floyd (Aaron Chown/PA)

“What are you going to do for the smaller elements, the ‘micro-aggressions’?

“If you see that, and that’s your first insight into racing, you’d be shocked. You’d (think) not only does the sport not want me here, it doesn’t want me full stop.

“That, to me, is disgusting. That is taking us so far back.”

He is convinced an opportunity was missed.

“The fact that racing fails to acknowledge that hits me harder than anything had hit me before, because it makes me feel like the sport that I love doesn’t care about the person that I am,” he added.

“I think racing has been left behind, left trailing by other sports.

“I really hope racing does pick it up. We’ve not lost completely – it’s not completely over. There is still something that can be done, things can change.”

Phelps is sure of that too, with her fellow administrators’ devotion to the cause as key.

Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore has helped to break down barriers for women in racing
Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore has helped to break down barriers for women in racing (Tim Goode/PA)

She said: “The industry commitment is the first step, I suppose, to the whole industry, the whole sport saying for the very first time and very publicly that diversity and inclusion matters.

“Diversity and inclusion is a really important subject for us as a sport, for us as an industry and for our future.

“In a year’s time, I hope we will have developed what is a really important step – to really understand the diversity across the sport, and in particular in relation to people from black communities and ethnic minority communities – which is something we don’t have at the moment.

“I’d like to see us taking a lot more steps to understand, be inclusive and to listen to the people within our organisations from any diverse community and make sure they are able to be themselves when they come into the sport.

“We, and our boards, will be holding each of our organisations accountable to it.

“I do hope we will get much clearer targets for some of these these areas, and you will see things changing.”

She hopes that a vision for a prosperous, inclusive future – in which gender equality and minority representation are dramatically enhanced – will be motivation for all.

“Rather than a stick at the moment, we’re looking at ‘what’s the carrot?’,” said Phelps.

“There’s a huge carrot out there for the industry and the sport.

“It’s not just about opening the door, changing our numbers and percentages, it’s about helping (all) to be their authentic selves and to be comfortable working in our sport and our industry.

“But we’re not there yet, at all. We’re not there on the gender, and we’re certainly not there in terms of cultural diversity.

“I hope that by the time we get through the next two, three, four years we will be looking at an industry population that mirrors the diversity we have in our society.”

Helliwell warns racing must address entrenched, traditional barriers.

“We have nepotism in this industry – rife throughout, and we’re very open about it – people giving jobs to friends and connections,” he said.

“What we need to be doing is people getting these jobs because they’re talented, to be able to interview for them because they’re talented – not be able to interview because they’re a friend of a friend.”

Horses on the gallops at Newmarket
Horses on the gallops at Newmarket (Mike Egerton/PA)

Elijah Michael and Kanane Francis, respectively racing-industry trainees as a lawyer and jockey, also spoke from personal experience to date.

Michael said: “(This) is not to say everyone in horse racing is racist.

“But it is a very white sport in these small pockets around the British and Irish countryside.”

Francis remains optimistic, despite the mixed reception he has found within racing, but would be encouraged if the sport could demonstrate to him that he belongs.

“In racing … they should at least do something to show ‘yes, they do support me’ – even if it’s not big … because it’s really a white-dominated sport,” he said.

“I would love to see, maybe a black trainer – just something to show ‘we’re starting this, and we’re going to make this happen’.”

Francis said he has not always felt universally welcome so far on the Newmarket gallops.

“I have sensed feelings that I might be on my own,” he added.

“Not many people have tried to interact with me, tried to speak to me on the yards I’ve been to.

“Even when I’m riding out, I get the dirtiest looks … you can just see people (thinking) ‘Why are you here? You don’t fit in, you’re not meant to be here’.

“But I just try to keep going with what I want to do, because I want to make these boundaries open up to a lot of other kids like me.”

Racing crowds will return as pandemic restrictions ease next week

Racecourses in England will be able to welcome customers through their gates from next Monday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced step three of the road map out of lockdown will go ahead as planned.

The British Horseracing Authority responded to the Prime Minister’s confirmation by giving the green light for crowds to return from May 17 – up to a maximum of 4,000 or 50% of capacity, whichever number is lower.

The first meetings able to race in front of a crowd will be Redcar and Carlisle on Monday afternoon – before Leicester and Windsor race in the evening.

Ffos Las race on Monday too, but the Welsh Government has still to announce a change to protocols – so for the time being, meetings will continue behind closed doors there.

The partial lifting of coronavirus restrictions means the Cazoo Derby meeting will be run in front of paying customers next month, and Royal Ascot will also have a crowd – although because stage four does not begin until June 21, it remains unclear whether that showpiece meeting will be able to host 10,000.

Since lockdowns began last March, spectators on racecourses have been restricted to pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick in September and limited crowds at a handful of meetings in December.

In a joint-statement issued by the BHA, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group, it was also confirmed that owners will also be allowed to see their horses and meet with their trainers and jockeys in the parade ring from next week.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said: “It is extremely exciting that we are finally able to welcome racegoers back to our racecourses.

“It will allow racing’s many fans to come back to the sport they love after more than a year away. We know there is a huge public demand for families and friends to meet up, outdoors, enjoy great food and drink and the unique social occasion of a race meeting.

“In addition, from next week, racing can once again offer our owners the opportunity to feel much closer to the action on a racecourse by returning to the parade ring. Racing’s leaders very much appreciate the commitment and patience shown by owners over the past year when their attendance and experience at racecourses has been restricted by the pandemic.”

David Armstrong, chief executive of the RCA, said: “This next step in the Government’s road map is hugely important milestone in the recovery of British Racing.

“Racecourses are very excited to welcome racegoers back and to be able to offer them a full race day experience whilst extending our provision for owners to whom the sport remain greater in for their continued support.

“Lockdown began almost 14 months ago, and it has been a very challenging journey for the industry and for racecourses in particular through several false starts and aborted pilot events. May 17 marks a key step on the return to normality.”

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA said: “Owners have played a critical role in keeping horse racing going behind closed doors throughout the past 12 months, contributing over £30million a month in training fees alone.

“While the invoices have continued, the ability to go racing and be a part of the race day experience has been greatly hindered as the country, and the wider industry, dealt with the pandemic at large.

“It is therefore a welcome step that come May 17 owners can get a step closer to the action with a return to the parade ring.

“There is more work to be done, and we will continue to work with the BHA and RCA to improve the race day experience for owners, while recognising this milestone in the Government’s roadmap.”

Racing’s annual Levy income forecast at £80million

Racing’s income from the Levy is set to be around £80m for the latest financial year – despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Levy Board has borne the brunt of funding prize money since last March, with racecourses unable to accept paying customers and high-street bookmakers closed for the large majority of time.

“There was no British racing for the first two months of the Levy year, and it was far from certain when racing resumed in June 2020 as to what the level of betting activity would be in the months that followed,” said the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s chairman Paul Darling.

“We have also seen licensed betting offices either closed completely for parts of the year or open with restrictions.

“Since June, we have attempted to balance on the one hand our desire to commit substantial extra support for the sport from our reserves with, on the other hand, the uncertainty around our own ongoing future income.”

The British Horseracing Authority views the forecast figure as a positive, especially taking into account there was no Grand National in 2020, and has pointed to the growing television audiences as another plus.

BHA executive director Will Lambe said: “Today’s news shows how racing continues to provide great excitement and entertainment to the public and is a fun and responsible way to enjoy betting.

“It’s a credit to the commitment and passion of all our participants and to the great stories that racing generates through our jockeys, trainers, owners and the staff who look after our horses.

“We thank all the media who have brought these stories to the British public over the last 12 months, including our racing channels and ITV sport.

“We thank the Horserace Betting Levy Board for the work it has done over the past year to support racing through this crisis, increasing its expenditure so that prize money levels could be maintained wherever possible, and providing additional funding to racecourses.

“We also thank our colleagues in the betting industry, who do so much to promote racing to their customers. These results demonstrate the potential for growing the public’s engagement in racing, the benefits this can bring to the tens of thousands of people employed in both our industries and to the country as whole, especially in rural economies.

“As British racing battles to recover from the financial impact of Covid, this is an encouraging moment as we strive to achieve better funding for our world-class industry, including a fair and sustainable Levy.”

Leading racing figures form part of whip consultation group

Leading trainer John Gosden plus jockeys Tom Scudamore and PJ McDonald will form part of the Whip Consultation Steering Group which will take an active role in the upcoming public consultation on the issue.

The group draws on individuals from a wide range of backgrounds across the racing industry as well as representation from wider sectors including politics, horse welfare and the media.

Former racecourse stewards’ panel chair, racecourse committee member and racehorse owner David Jones, who is also an independent regulatory director on the board of the British Horseracing Authority, will chair the group.

The consultation aims to gather and assess the viewpoints of industry participants, non-industry stakeholders and wider public audiences, regarding rules, usage and penalties related to the whip.

The future of the whip in racing is to come under the microscope
The future of the whip in racing is to come under the microscope (David Davies/PA)

Other members of the group include trainer Henry Daly, Sir Michael Stoute’s head lad/assistant James Savage, broadcaster Nick Luck and Aintree clerk of the course Sulekha Varma.

The Steering Group held its first meeting last week and will now work towards finalising an agreed timescale for the consultation process, which is currently planned to run in the second half of this year.

Jones said: “It is essential that the consultation process is fair, open and transparent and the views of all parties are considered.

“In addition, any decisions must be made by those who have a deep understanding and knowledge of the subject matter and who are willing to both represent and consider a range of perspectives.”

Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said: “The whips used in British racing are foam-padded and were designed with input from the RSPCA. Its use in races is subject to strict controls.

“The Horse Welfare Board were clear, however, that the use of the whip is an issue of public trust in the sport, and that the racing industry must be mindful of public opinion if it is to safeguard its long-term future.”

BHA chief Harrington quells concerns over Foster’s Festival runners

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington is not anticipating any issues for Denise Foster-trained runners at next week’s Cheltenham Festival – although the regulator is still seeking to clarify conditions surrounding the transfer of Gordon Elliott’s string.

Foster, known on the Irish racing circuit as Sneezy, has taken charge of more than 200 horses – having previously trained just 10 winners in the preceding five years.

Elliott is currently banned for six months – with a further six suspended – following an image posted on social media which pictured him sat astride a dead horse.

With the Cheltenham Festival beginning on Tuesday, the BHA was pleased the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board handed out a swift punishment but is aware winners for the yard, which has been hugely successful at the meeting in recent years, will inevitably bring with them unwanted headlines.

Gordon Elliott is currently serving a suspension
Gordon Elliott is currently serving a suspension (Simon Marper/PA)

“We want the coverage to be about the great stories and the great achievements of the horses – it is the shop window for our sport,” Harrington said, in a zoom call with members of the media.

“It’s an opportunity for us to really shine and tell the positive stories that are linked to our sport.

“We’re doing everything we can to support everyone to tell those stories. We hope the focus is on the horses.

“We’re not naive, though – we know people will have questions, but what we don’t want to do is detract from all the hard work that goes into preparing horses for the Festival. It would be such a shame for everybody who has worked all year to get those horses ready to not get the airtime that they deserve.”

Should a Foster-trained runner be successful next week – and with the likes of Zanahiyr, Grand Roi and The Bosses Oscar all favourites for their respective races, the likelihood is there will at least be one – then Harrington is well aware of the potential to overshadow the meeting.

“If Denise Foster has winners at the Festivals, the story being around the connections of that horse is what I hope is put forward,” added Harrington.

“We are really pleased that our colleagues in Ireland acted swiftly, so that this wasn’t hanging over us throughout the Festival.

“That’s not as simple as to say ‘let’s draw a line under it and move on’ – but the sanction is in place. Our temporary ban is lifted, because Mr Elliott’s ban is in place, and those horses are free to run for other trainers.

“In terms of any conditions to her licence, that is a matter for the IHRB. But I’m in contact with Denis Egan (chief executive) at the IHRB, understanding what those conditions are for the good reputation of racing in Ireland and Britain.

The Elliott saga was all across the news last week
The Elliott saga was all across the news last week (PA Wire)

“We’re asking what conditions have been put in place. But that is a matter for the Irish – we’re currently seeking clarifications of what conditions are put in place. We’re assuming we’ll know before Cheltenham.

“It will be conditions to the licence rather than the sanction – that is where they will be applied. We’re asking for those but also making it clear what our views are on behalf of JCR (Jockey Club Racecourses) as well.

“We want to make sure that any horses attending are not clearly under the Gordon Elliott flag.

“I’ve made our views on it clear, and we’re waiting to hear what conditions will be applied to Denise. Then we will also be able to look, if we’re not happy, at what is available to us within our own rules.

“At this point we’re having really good discussions, so I’m not envisaging us getting to that point (preventing the horses running).”

BHA announces interim suspension on Elliott runners in Britain

Gordon Elliott will not be permitted to have runners in Britain until the conclusion of an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board investigation into an image on social media that showed the Grand National-winning trainer sitting on a dead horse on his gallops.

Racing authorities in Britain and Ireland have condemned the image, which Elliott confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening was genuine, apologising “profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused”, while seeking to explain what he said was the context of events that led to the photograph.

The IHRB has already launched a full investigation – and while Elliott is licensed in Ireland, the British Horseracing Authority said it was “appalled” by the image and was “considering its own regulatory options”, but has now acted.

A statement on Monday evening said: “The British Horseracing Authority will not allow the Irish trainer Gordon Elliott to race horses in Britain whilst the Irish authorities investigate an image that appeared on social media over the weekend.

“The trainer admitted the photo was genuine and apologised for his actions.

British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London
British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London (John Stillwell/PA)

“The BHA, which regulates racing in Britain, will use powers under its own rules to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to race in Britain pending consideration of the outcome of the Irish investigation.

“The action taken by the BHA recognises that Mr Elliott is licensed in Ireland, whose regulatory body, the IHRB, is carrying out its own investigation.

“However, Mr Elliott has entered horses to race in Britain, from which point the British rules of racing apply to him.

“The decision to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to run in Britain is therefore an interim decision which the BHA regards as proportionate in these circumstances.”

The BHA added that owners of horses currently trained by Elliott are permitted to transfer them to a different trainer and run them at a British meeting, “providing they comply with the relevant rules”.

An earlier statement had read: “The BHA is appalled by the image that appeared this weekend. We expect all those in our sport to demonstrate respect for horses, on the racecourse, in the training yard, on the gallops, and wherever they have horses in their care.

“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour. On their behalf, and on behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable.

“The BHA is considering its own regulatory options, recognising that the Irish authorities license Mr Elliott and are carrying out their own investigation.”

Horse Racing Ireland, the national authority for thoroughbred racing in Ireland, echoed those sentiments, saying the picture was a “disservice” to people in racing.

A statement said: “Horse Racing Ireland unreservedly condemns the disturbing photograph that appeared on social media at the weekend.

“This image does not reflect the care, attention and respect that race horses receive, and does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after their horses on a daily basis. Horse Racing Ireland notes and supports the IHRB investigation into the circumstances around the photograph.

“From a disciplinary perspective, the matter is in process, so any further comment on the matter or the detail of the case at this time would not be appropriate.”

Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott
Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott (Niall Carson/PA)

The IHRB is hoping for a speedy resolution to the case, with a spokesman adding: “As is the case with all investigations carried out by the IHRB, there is a process that must be followed – and that will be the case in this instance.

“As stated over the weekend, this will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Elliott on the racecourse at least, as he sent out Black Tears to win the Grade Three Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown – while Papal Lodge, Coach Carter and Mighty Potter were also on the mark for the Cullentra team.

Tiger Roll 2019 Grand National Winners Parade
Michael O’Leary will continue to support Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elliott also received a boost as Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O’Leary confirmed his team – including dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll – would be going nowhere, opting to accept an apology for a “grievous but momentary lapse of judgement from Gordon”.

Cheveley Park Stud, who count hot Cheltenham Festival favourite Envoi Allen among their Elliott string, said they were “truly horrified and dismayed by the photograph”, but will wait for the IHRB investigation to conclude before making any decisions on the future.

Sire Du Berlais is prominent in the betting for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Frank Berry, racing manager for his owner JP McManus, declined to comment on the situation when contacted on Monday morning.

But online bookmakers Betfair – for whom Elliott has been an ambassador for several years – made a swift decision to cut ties with the trainer.

A statement read: “While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.

“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”

The four-day Cheltenham Festival is due to get under way on March 16.

British and Irish racing authorities condemn Elliott image

Racing authorities in Britain and Ireland have condemned the image of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott which circulated on social media over the weekend.

In a statement issued late on Sunday evening, Elliott confirmed the image, which showed him sitting on a dead horse, was genuine and apologised “profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused”, while seeking to explain what he said was the context of events that led to the picture.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has already launched a full investigation – and while Elliott is licensed in Ireland, the British Horseracing Authority is “considering its own regulatory options”, saying it is “appalled” by the image.

A statement read: “The BHA is appalled by the image that appeared this weekend. We expect all those in our sport to demonstrate respect for horses, on the racecourse, in the training yard, on the gallops, and wherever they have horses in their care.

“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour. On their behalf, and on behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable.

“The BHA is considering its own regulatory options, recognising that the Irish authorities license Mr Elliott and are carrying out their own investigation.”

Horse Racing Ireland, the national authority for thoroughbred racing in Ireland, echoed those sentiments, saying the picture was a “disservice” to people in racing.

A statement said: “Horse Racing Ireland unreservedly condemns the disturbing photograph that appeared on social media at the weekend.

“This image does not reflect the care, attention and respect that race horses receive, and does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after their horses on a daily basis. Horse Racing Ireland notes and supports the IHRB investigation into the circumstances around the photograph.

“From a disciplinary perspective, the matter is in process, so any further comment on the matter or the detail of the case at this time would not be appropriate.”

Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott
Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott (Niall Carson/PA)

The IHRB is hoping for a speedy resolution to the case, with a spokesman adding: “As is the case with all investigations carried out by the IHRB, there is a process that must be followed – and that will be the case in this instance.

“As stated over the weekend, this will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Elliott on the racecourse at least, as he sent out Black Tears to win the Grade Three Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown – while Papal Lodge, Coach Carter and Mighty Potter were also on the mark for the Cullentra team.

Tiger Roll 2019 Grand National Winners Parade
Michael O’Leary will continue to support Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elliott also received a boost as Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O’Leary confirmed his team – including dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll – would be going nowhere, opting to accept an apology for a “grievous but momentary lapse of judgement from Gordon”.

Cheveley Park Stud, who count hot Cheltenham Festival favourite Envoi Allen among their Elliott string, said they were “truly horrified and dismayed by the photograph”, but will wait for the IHRB investigation to conclude before making any decisions on the future.

Sire Du Berlais is prominent in the betting for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Frank Berry, racing manager for his owner JP McManus, declined to comment on the situation when contacted on Monday morning.

But online bookmakers Betfair – for whom Elliott has been an ambassador for several years – made a swift decision to cut ties with the trainer.

A statement read: “While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.

“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”

Gordon Elliott apologises ‘profoundly’ and offers ‘context’ to events that led to social media image

Gordon Elliott has said he “cannot apologise enough” after an investigation was launched by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board into an image of the Grand National-winning trainer circulating on social media.

The image was posted and widely shared on Twitter on Saturday, with the regulatory board of the sport in Ireland later tweeting: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of an image circulating on social media and the matter is under investigation.”

It appeared to show Elliott sitting on a dead horse on the gallops – and while many people commented on social media that it looked fake, the County Meath handler said in a statement issued on Sunday evening: “I would like to address the speculation and rumours that have been rife since an old photo of me began circulating on social media yesterday afternoon.

“Firstly, I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused and can categorically state that the welfare of each and every horse under my care is paramount and has been central to the success that we have enjoyed here at Cullentra.

“The photo in question was taken some time ago and occurred after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops. I appreciate that an initial viewing of this photo suggests it is a callous and staged photo, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“At what was a sad time, which it is when any horse under my care passes away, my initial reaction was to get the body removed from where it was positioned.

Elliott has offered
Elliott has offered “context” for the image which appeared on Twitter (Simon Cooper/PA)

“I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which, to my memory I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it. Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished.

“Such background information may seem trivial at this time and will not allay the concerns of many people both within and outside the world of horse racing.

“However, I feel it is important to provide people with some context surrounding this photo. To the racing community, to anyone who has worked with and loves horses and to anyone offended by this image I cannot apologise enough.

“Horse welfare and the care and attention to detail involved is absolutely at the core of everything we do here and both myself and all of my team pride ourselves on those standards.

“Again I apologise for any offence caused and ask people to consider this statement as opposed to the various falsehoods and misinformation being circulated on social media.

“At this time I would like to stress that I continue to extend my full cooperation with the ongoing IHRB investigation.”

Speaking on Sunday lunchtime, an IHRB spokesman said: “The investigation is under way, and it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

The British Horseracing Authority welcomed the IHRB’s investigation, and is hoping for a swift resolution, calling the image “shocking”.

Elliott trains dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll
Elliott trains dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll (Brian Lawless/PA)

A spokesperson said: “We hope the Irish authorities will quickly confirm how this shocking picture originated.

“Respect for horses is a fundamental value of our sport, contrary to the impression in this picture. The IHRB have assured us that the investigation will be carried out as quickly as possible and that they will keep us informed as more information becomes available.”

Elliott is a three-time Grand National winner, having sent out Silver Birch to claim the Aintree prize before Tiger Roll became the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum when lifting the world-famous event in 2018 and 2019.

The 42-year-old also counts 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack among the best horses he has trained, with 32 Cheltenham Festival wins to his name so far.

Elliott houses a number of favourites for this year’s Festival, including Envoi Allen and Zanahiyr, while Tiger Roll himself is also due to run in the Glenfarclas Chase over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences.

Gordon Elliott ‘cooperating fully’ with IHRB investigation

Gordon Elliott has said he will be “cooperating fully” with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board after an investigation was launched into a purported image of the leading trainer which was posted on social media on Saturday.

The image was posted and widely shared on Twitter, with the regulatory board of the sport in Ireland later tweeting: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of an image circulating on social media and the matter is under investigation.”

The image appears to show Elliott sitting on a dead horse on the gallops – although many people have commented on social media that it looks fake.

Elliott responded from his official Twitter account.

He posted: “I’m aware of a photo in circulation on social media. The IHRB have been in contact with me regarding this photo and I will be cooperating fully with their investigation.”

Speaking on Sunday lunchtime, an IHRB spokesman said: “The investigation is under way, and it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Elliott is a three-time Grand National winner, having sent out Silver Birch to claim the Aintree prize before Tiger Roll became the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum when lifting the marathon event in 2018 and 2019.

Elliott with dual National hero Tiger Roll
Elliott with dual National hero Tiger Roll (Niall Carson/PA)

The County Meath handler also counts 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack among the best horses he has trained, with 32 Cheltenham Festival wins to his name so far.

Elliott houses a number of favourites for this year’s Festival, including Envoi Allen and Zanahiyr, while Tiger Roll himself is also due to run in the Glenfarclas Chase over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences.

The British Horseracing Authority has welcomed the IHRB’s investigation, and is hoping for a speedy resolution.

A spokesperson said: “We hope the Irish authorities will quickly confirm how this shocking picture originated.

“Respect for horses is a fundamental value of our sport, contrary to the impression in this picture. The IHRB have assured us that the investigation will be carried out as quickly as possible and that they will keep us informed as more information becomes available.”

BHA planning for return of owners and amateur riders on March 29

British racing has confirmed plans to welcome owners and amateur riders back on course from March 29 – with a mid-May return of spectators, in line with the Government’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions.

The British Horseracing Authority announced its proposed schedule on Friday evening, following this week’s publication of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-step route towards the end of lockdown over the coming months.

The BHA outlined its phased intentions after meetings with Government officials – with a schedule which confirms both this year’s Cheltenham Festival and the start of the new Flat season on March 27 will take place entirely behind closed doors.

Next month's Cheltenham Festival will take place behind closed door
Next month’s Cheltenham Festival will take place behind closed doors (David Davies/PA)

Measures such as the return of amateur riders, suspended during the current lockdown, and owners are set to be introduced on a timeline which mirrors dates in the Government’s road map.

The first key date identified by the BHA is March 29, the second step in the national road map – when it is hoped owners can begin to attend meetings and amateurs ride again, both with the resumption of point-to-points and at fixtures under rules.

A BHA update read: “Following the publication on Monday, February 22 of the UK Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions in England, the industry Covid-19 group has carefully studied the implications for racing in England.

“Any changes to racing protocols will move in parallel with the steps set out in the road map and are therefore dependent on the Government’s timetable.

“Since the plan was published on Monday February 22, the BHA and senior racing executives have engaged with Government to agree how racing can unwind its own restrictions.”

The BHA also announced details of arrangements available to owners as of March 29 – with enhancements to their raceday experience permitted only after the next step on the road map, from April 12 at the earliest.

The update added: “At this stage (March 29), racecourses will not be able to provide hospitality – and strict attendance rules will remain in place, including, including a health screening process.

“Further enhancements to the owner experience will be permitted from Step Two, which comes into force from Monday April 12 at the earliest.

“In line with the resumption of outdoor hospitality on that date, our goal is for racecourses to be able to re-introduce outdoor hospitality for
owners, in line with Government guidance.”

In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement at the beginning of this week, the return of racecourse crowds can be anticipated from May 17 – Step Three of the roadmap – with earlier pilot sports and leisure events already mooted in Government advice.

The BHA added: “British Racing is keen to play a role in pilots organised through the Government’s events research programme.

“British Racing will be making representations for racecourses to be allowed to host up to 10,000 spectators at Step Three, in line with the guidance on other spectator arenas, instead of the 4,000 for outdoor events.”

Crowds have been largely absent from British racecourses since the fixture list resumed last summer, following two months without any racing during the early stages of the pandemic.

Two pilot events did take place at Warwick and Doncaster, before a brief return of spectators in December until lockdown returned as coronavirus cases increased again.

The BHA’s chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: “We are all eager to open up our racecourses once again to owners, spectators and our amateur jockeys.

“Owners have continued to support racing through the difficult winter months, and we will work together as an industry to get them back as soon as possible, recognising that the Government timetable is still subject to conditions being met.”

Welcoming the news, Charlie Liverton, chief executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: “Owners have continued to support the industry unwaveringly through this period of lockdown.

“The financial contribution of some £30m a month that owners make to trainers, jockeys, racing staff and all those in the rural economy who are indirectly supported is critical to have enabled the industry to derive the majority of its income streams since June 1, 2020.

“We thank you for that support. Owners have not been able to watch their horses on the racecourse of late and we wholly recognise the desire to be able to return to the racecourse at the earliest opportunity.

“Working with industry stakeholders these discussions remain ongoing.”

BHA publishes full fixture list for remainder of 2021

Jockeys will continue to ride at a maximum of one meeting per day for the immediate future, while minimum prize-money levels are set to be restored to pre-Covid levels, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

Racing’s rulers published a complete 2021 fixture list on Friday after initially only unveiling definite dates for the first four months of the year together with provisional plans for the remainder due to the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

The BHA has now confirmed a list, which encompasses a total of 1,486 meetings, developed “with a view to maximising revenue for the sport and participants, while safeguarding participant well-being and taking account of the horse population”.

There will be five fewer fixtures in total this year compared to what was scheduled in 2020, with the volume of races in July and August reduced “to ensure competitive racing and safeguard against possible reductions in horses in training as a result of the pandemic”, with juvenile numbers forecast to take a potential dip.

Crowds will be absent from next month's Cheltenham Festival
Crowds will be absent from next month’s Cheltenham Festival (David Davies/PA)

With the backing of the Levy Board, which has allocated £16.4million for prize-money between May 1 and June 30, and increased racecourse contributions, minimum race values will be reinstated for all tiers of races in 2021, with class one races and heritage handicaps having been operating at 75 per cent of their pre-Covid levels.

Richard Wayman, chief operating officer for the BHA, said: “Publishing the full fixture list now will provide greater certainty for the sport and its customers. This is particularly important for racecourses, who are being asked to make increased executive contributions as Levy Board funding begins to scale back.

“Of course, until spectators return and retail bookmakers reopen, racecourse revenues remain under considerable pressure. However, the publication of the fixture list does, at least, reduce one area of uncertainty for racecourses and would allow for increased confidence in forecasting some of their future revenue streams.

“Working with racecourses and participants, we will continue to develop the sport to make it attractive to both existing and new customers and investors.

“In addition, racing continues to liaise with Government and the appropriate bodies around the return of owners and spectators to race meetings, the delivery and distribution of the Government’s £40m winter survival fund, the potential impact of the Gambling Commission’s consultation on remote customer interaction, and proposals for urgent reform of the Levy.”

Since the resumption of racing in June following the lockdown, riders have only been allowed to participate at one meeting a day to satisfy Covid protocols – and that measure will remain in place until restrictions are no longer required, when it will be reviewed.

Ahead of that review, the number of Flat jockeys likely to be available at any one time means that a maximum of five Flat fixtures will be staged on any single day, with 18 fixtures moved for one year only to account for this.

Easter meetings have also been tweaked as there are usually greater numbers of fixtures programmed to encourage attendances, but no crowds be permitted until May 17 at the earliest, when only a limited number of racegoers would be allowed under the Government’s road map.

Dale Gibson, the Professional Jockeys Association’s executive director (racing), was pleased to see two breaks in the Flat calendar and one in the National Hunt dates maintained this year, but feels more should be done on that front next year.

He said: “All parties, but especially the BHA Racing Department, must be thanked for their hard work and skill in maintaining a workable fixture list since we resumed from lockdown last summer. Finalising any fixture list is never an easy task, but has been made even more challenging this year for obvious reasons.

“Everyone has had to compromise as result of the challenges and ongoing uncertainties caused by the global pandemic.

“We are pleased that the NH break in August and the two scheduled Flat breaks in March and November have been retained as these have proved to be of significant benefit to all jockeys and their families.

More needs to be done to ensure riders have a proper break, says Dale Gibson of the PJA
More needs to be done to ensure riders have a proper break, says Dale Gibson of the PJA (Steve Parkin/PA)

“However, whilst we need to be mindful of recovering from the financial impacts of the Covid 19 crisis, much more needs to be done to ease the significant pressures on the workforce.

“Due to the Covid related changes to the fixture list this summer, Flat jockeys, valets and other racing staff will see 167 days of racing with only three guaranteed days off between April 19 and October 2 – two Sundays in May and one in July.

“Participants in racing are not afraid of long days and hard work, but that is a tough gig in anyone’s book. It is no wonder that jockeys suffer burnout at twice the rate of athletes in other professional sports and that more than 25 per cent of PJA members accessed some form of one-to-one mental health support in 2020.

“2022 needs to see a combination of extended breaks and more single code Sundays.

“The sport needs to pay more than lip service to participant welfare and any post-Covid financial recovery plan must balance maximising financial returns with the welfare of jockeys, trainers and racing staff.”