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Boost for punters as BHA orders that wind ops must be declared

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Punters are to be given a key new nugget of information in their search for winners with the BHA set to compel trainers to declare when a horse has undergone wind surgery.

Under a new BHA rule, racecards from January 19 will show when a horse is having his or her first run since receiving treatment for a breathing-related issue.

The governing body is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday.

It was only last week Nicky Henderson announced the reappearance of last season's superstar novice chase Altior had been postponed due to the discovery of a wind problem.

When the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite reappears, racecards will show the horse has undergone a procedure, although there will be no specification as to the exact nature or form of that procedure.

Altior: ruled out of the Tingle Creek with a wind problem
In addition, the official notification concerning treatment for a breathing condition will only be documented for a horse's first outing subsequent to the veterinary treatment.

When revealing the Altior news, Henderson pointed out Sprinter Sacre had been given the same treatment at the end of his novice hurdle campaign, while Might Bite also had a wind issue corrected prior to dazzling over fences.

In previous years, Gold Cup hero and superstar chaser Denman became one of the highest-profile animals to receive a wind operation.

The BHA has told industry professionals it has moved to formally make the information public for the first time in a bid to be "open and transparent", thus heeding calls from punters and their representatives, who have been lobbying the organisation over a number of years.

The Horseracing Bettors Forum has described the mandatory declaration of wind operation as at the top of punters' wishlists based on survey evidence.

A similar rule already exists across much of the southern hemisphere. However, it is expected the bodies representing trainers, owners and breeders will, in the main, be critical.

They, and some veterinary surgeons, are likely to argue there is no guarantee treatment will have a beneficial effect on a horse, while there will also be fears about the potential impact on the commercial values of bloodstock.

Newmarket vet Piet Ramzan tweeted on Tuesday evening: "Punters are going to find out very rapidly how hit and miss wind surgery is, something trainers and vets already know."

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The governing body is believed likely to make a formal announcement on Wednesday
E.W. Terms