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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Whip storms, National changes plus more: Stier's time at the BHA at an end

BHA chief regulatory officer heads back to Australia after eight years in role

Jamie Stier: "My view of British racing is that it's populated by people who care passionately"
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Jamie Stier bows out as the BHA's chief regulatory officer on Friday after eight years in the role, during which time he oversaw several major changes to racing in Britain.

Stier was responsible for managing the BHA’s raceday operations, including stewarding, integrity and equine welfare staff.

He also had responsibility for managing the teams that license trainers, jockeys and racecourses, lead the anti-doping and anti-corruption investigations, and running the sport’s equine-welfare programme.

Stier is returning to Australia to head up Racing Victoria's integrity services and feels he leaves the sport in Britain in a good position after a series of demanding issues that often generated criticism from within the racing industry.

"I feel like we have achieved a lot in this time," he said. "Some obvious highlights include the detailed review of the Grand National course in 2012 – which seems to have had a positive effect – and more recently the introduction of 30-day notification for foals.

"We should not underestimate the importance of this development – being able to track horses practically from birth may have huge advantages for the welfare of our animals and the sport's integrity."

Key whip changes

One of the first tasks Stier had to tackle was a review of the whip rules, a hot topic which generated a storm of debate and which still divides opinion, as evidenced with breaches by some of the winning riders at last week's Cheltenham Festival.

Reflecting on the review, Stier added: "I'm proud of the work we carried out here as it really positioned British racing as pioneers among the major racing nations when it comes to regulating the use of the whip, and it has brought about significant behavioural change in the way it is used by our riders, which was its core objective.

"Several other nations have followed in our wake, and I'm pleased to see we are remaining on the front foot here, as we have announced we'll be reviewing the penalties to ensure they still provide sufficient deterrent."

Not all of the reviews and issues have led to the intended outcomes, but Stier has enjoyed his time in Britain. He added: "Implementing change has not always been easy and I'm sure my successor will face the same challenges, but generally my view of British racing is that it is populated by people who care passionately and have the best interests of the sport and its participants at heart."

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Implementing change has not always been easy and I'm sure my successor will face the same challenges
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