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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Rust: handicapping review will deliver more transparency

Nick Rust: "We should have a transparent system that's understood by everyone
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The BHA is conducting a review of its handicapping processes, with chief executive Nick Rust saying the minimum he expects is that it will "give more clarity to day-to-day practices".

Speaking in Washington, where he is attending the second Pan American Racing Conference, Rust stressed the review was an internal matter that should not be seen as an investigation of individual handicappers’ performances.

He said: ““The aim of handicapping is to set a puzzle for punters, but we should also have a transparent system that’s understood by everyone in the sport.

'We'll want to explain more'

"I can’t prejudge the report, but generally we’ll want to explain more about what the handicappers are doing, be more open, and more than likely introduce an effective appeals procedure."

He added: “This is not a matter of examining the capability of the handicapping team. It’s about making sure the process is in tune with the needs of the moment.”

Elaborating, Rust said the review is designed “to make sure the objectives are in line with the sport’s overall strategies to grow ownership, improve the number of people associated with the sport and bring in more income.”

The review, which will be reported to the BHA board on June 6, is being led by chief operating officer Richard Wayman with external assistance.

Lydia Hislop: believed to have played a major role in the review

It is understood Racing UK presenter Lydia Hislop, a member of the BHA’s Flat Pattern committee, has been heavily involved, including conducting lengthy interviews with official handicappers about their methodology.

Rust said: “The link is to the new money that will be generated following the reform of the levy system. We have already said that the grassroots will get up to an extra £8 million in prize-money, because that’s the end where we’re not retaining owners.

“The majority of races at that level are handicaps, therefore it’s imperative we look at meeting all the needs of racing, which includes examining the handicapping systems."

Rust pointed out that steps had already been taken to bring the handicappers and their work more into the public eye, through regular blogs on the BHA website and, most recently, the weekly publication of performance ratings for all Class 1 races.

The link is to the new money that will be generated following the reform of the levy system
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