Jumping set to resume at Southwell next week

Jump racing will return to Southwell next Friday after the conclusion of an investigation into eight equine fatalities at the Nottinghamshire track.

Cheltenham Festival winner Croco Bay was one of the fatalities which occurred from July 30 to September 3, and the British Horseracing Authority and course owners Arena Racing Company suspended jump racing at Southwell from that date.

The report makes four key recommendations to modify existing fences and changes to the race programme.

A schooling morning to trial the modifications made to fences took place on Wednesday – with a number of leading trainers and jockeys present to test, and offer feedback, on the amendments made.

Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, said: “The BHA and ARC have worked together to comprehensively review the incidents at Southwell between July and early September, while racing was temporarily suspended at the course as a precaution.

“Having completed analysis of the racing in that period, all those involved agreed there are a small number of changes that can be made which will have a positive impact.”

ARC racing director Jon Pullin said: “We are extremely grateful to BHA and all of those who have assisted in this review. The recommendations that it has made have been fully implemented at Southwell, ahead of the resumption of jump racing at the racecourse on November 13.

“The amendments to the steeplechase fences have been a focus of the work undertaken by the racecourse team in preparation for this upcoming meeting, working alongside jockeys and trainers to make sure that the recommendations from the review are met.

“The physical changes to the fences sit alongside the other ongoing work, which includes the race programme, as part of our constant review of racing operations at Southwell and all of our sites.”

Trainer Charlie Longsdon, who was present at the schooling morning, said: “The changes that have been made to the fences are a positive step – and based on the schooling morning, we were very happy with how the horses were jumping them.

“The jockeys who rode over them were happy too, and we’re looking forward to having runners at Southwell at the next fixture.”