British Horseracing Authority introduces surgery rule

By Robert Simmons
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that it will introduce a new rule requiring pre-race racecards to declare if a horse participating in a prospective race has recently undergone wind surgery.

It follows a recent survey by the Horseracing Bettors forum (HBF) that information on whether a horse has had wind surgery is the most requested piece of information by UK bettors prior to a race.

The types of surgery included under the definition of wind surgery include: Tie Back (prosthetic laryngoplasty), Hobday (ventriculectomy/cordectomy), Epiglottic surgery, Tie Forward (dorsal displacement soft palate surgery) and Soft Palate Cautery.

Racecards will not feature specific information on the surgery type, but will include the annotation ‘WS’ against any applicable horse from January 19th 2018. The BHA has said that the introduction of this requirement will help it to collect research on the scale and impact of wind surgeries in the sport.

Announcing the change in regulations, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, Jamie Stier said: “The sport’s betting customers, and potential customers, are at the heart of this development. It is simply essential that the sport is seen to be open, fair and transparent. In a modern world, information which may have an impact on a horse’s performance should be available to all, not only those who are close to the horse in question.

“The more data that is available to the betting customer serves to make the sport a more attractive betting product. It is vital that we keep up with other sports if we are going to continue to compete in an increasingly crowded betting marketplace.

“Declaration of wind operations is already mandatory in some other racing nations, and the BHA are led to believe that other racing nations will also consider following suit following the BHA’s implementation of the changes.”

Simon Rowlands, Chair of the Horserace Bettors Forum, added: “HBF welcomes this initiative by the BHA and the decisive way in which it has responded to requests for wind-operation data from a section of the British horseracing public surveyed by HBF.

“The requirements asked of the sport’s professionals for declaring wind operations and the procedures involved in exposing the resulting information to the public seem reasonable and pragmatic. HBF looks forward to discovering, along with the wider public, the value that exists in this data once it starts to be published.”


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