Harmonising interference rules 'an excellent outcome' says BHA
France Galop's decision to fall more into line with British, Irish and Asian rules on interference by adopting a 'model rule' has been warmly welcomed by the BHA.
The International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities announced the harmonising of the rules on interference on Tuesday, with the French and German authorities now set to abandon their so-called 'category two' interpretation of interference, whereby a horse can be demoted for interference regardless of whether it is deemed to have cost the victim a chance of finishing in front of it.
The BHA's chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier described the development of the model rule as "an excellent outcome for the sport," while both Freddy Head and Alain de Royer-Dupre also welcomed the move.
"We are delighted that the IFHA has implemented a model interference rule to the international agreement, and that France Galop have agreed to become signatories to this article," said Stier.
"Both organisations deserve great credit. Every step taken towards increased harmonisation of rules internationally is a positive one, especially when it concerns such a fundamental rule as interference."
France Galop will take time over the closing months of the year to refine the text of their own regulations before announcing the date of implementation, while Stier recognised that individual nations and jurisdictions will maintain a certain amount of latitude in the way they frame their interference rules.
"The Rules as drafted are designed to see that the best horse, in the specific circumstances of the particular race, wins the race," said Stier.
"This is the policy that the BHA has had in place for many years and it is our view – shared by the IFHA – that it is the most satisfactory of the options available, while we acknowledging that no set of rules can be 'perfect' when dealing with this issue.
"We appreciate that there may still be nuances between nations as to how the rules are specifically applied, but to achieve better overall alignment is an excellent outcome for the sport."
French trainers welcome the change
France Galop are due to present their own revised rulebook to professionals later in the year but two leading Chantilly trainers gave their backing to the change of principle on Wednesday.
"It’s a very good thing and about time," said Freddy Head. "You have to have things run the same way everywhere. And I also think that it is more reasonable not to demote horses for minor things that happen when they would have won in any case. The best horse should win."
Alain de Royer-Dupre said: "I am in favour of the change. I think it will give a bit more of a free hand to the stewards. The rules as they stand are too rigid and force the stewards to demote horses because of the letter of the law."
Read French correspondent Scott Burton's view on the rule change in Allez France: