Jockeys' association backs BHA non-runner crackdown
The Professional Jockeys Association has backed the BHA's move to tackle the number of non-runners after the governing body put nine trainers on notice over the issue.
Eight Flat and one jumps trainers were warned on Monday that they would not be able to declare their horses as non-runners (self-certification) for a year if they do not reduce their number to below the newly prescribed threshold by March.
While two of the trainers, Patrick Morris and David Brown, said they would not compromise the welfare of their horses in order to stave off the threat, the PJA said on Tuesday that it had been encouraged by the BHA's stance.
The racing authority on Monday published a league table of trainers on the Flat and over jumps with the highest percentage of non-runners between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.
"The PJA supports the BHA's wide-ranging initiatives to reduce the volume of non-runners," said executive director Dale Gibson. "We completely agree that horse welfare has to come first but the rules had become too lax, creating situations whereby it was easy to declare a non-runner in circumstances that had nothing to do with welfare or ground concerns.
"The BHA's initiatives will hopefully see non-runners reduced to a more realistic level, which can only be beneficial for many interested parties, whether through reducing owner costs, increasing field sizes or addressing customer frustration."
According to the BHA's new rules, "any trainer with more than 100 declarations in the period with a non-runner rate above a published threshold percentage (namely 50 per cent above the average non-runner rate) will be suspended from using self-certificates for 12 months".
Those thresholds are currently 14 per cent on the Flat and 12 per cent over jumps, although these are liable to change. The BHA will issue guidelines in January as to what the level will be from March.
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