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newsbritsh horseracing authority forms new policy to permit surface change on raceday

Britsh Horseracing Authority Forms New Policy To Permit Surface Change On Raceday

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has formed a new policy which will permit on-the-day surface changes when tracks are unraceable.

British Horseracing Authority

Instead of having the meeting abandoned, racetracks are now able to switch between flat turf and all-weather tracks. This would only be applicable to racecourses that have both an all-weather and flat turf surface.

At the time of writing, only Lingfield Park would be able to make the switch if there was a deterioration in the ground conditions.

Surface switches can only be permitted by the BHA as part of a Going/Ground Enquiry. Stewards will then make a decision as to whether the original surface is unraceable or not.

Therefore, the idea is to provide meetings no matter the conditions. Naturally, participants and fans who are travelling to the course won’t be hit with a cancelled meeting.

BHA’s Comments

“Following the abandonment of a Lingfield turf fixture in 2022, questions were raised by connections as to whether there could be a process in place to allow the affected races to simply transfer to the All-Weather course. Especially for those still willing to race with participants and racegoers having already travelled to the course,” said BHA Head of Racing and Betting, Tom Byrne.

“By introducing this new policy, we hope that if we are faced with a similar situation again, a switch of race surface on the day of the race would be permitted. This would allow the fixture to continue, rather than being abandoned.

“We expect that any such instance will be very rare, with an on-the-day switch only permitted in the most exceptional circumstances. However if the need does arise, then we give ourselves the chance to try and fairly deliver races for participants who want to run, as well as offering racing for customers both on and off-course,” Byrne added.

There are only certain scenarios whereby a surface switch would be granted. And here are some of the key takeaways to expect if it does arise:

  • Running orders would remain the same
  • Race weights and conditions would remain as originally published
  • A window of opportunity to withdraw runners if chosen to do so
  • No penalty incurred if runners are withdrawn
  • The withdrawal of any horse that had already been declared a non-runner would stand
  • Race distances may vary slightly between turf and all-weather tracks, so race times can vary
  • Entry fees would be refunded to the owners of all entered horses. Other than those that run following the change of surface
  • For any race that has a field size greater than the All-Weather Field Safety Limit, an elimination sequence would apply
Ben Horlock
Ben Horlock
Ben Horlock

Ben is a news and features writer who specialises in sport and gambling. Ben has over ten years experience writing for web-based audiences and has been published across various UK and US news outlets. As well, Ben has worked in social media for four years in the sports gambling industry.