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BHA permits on-the-day surface changes for British racing

The change could allow races to go ahead when turf is deemed unraceable.

UK.- The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced a policy change to allow on-the-day switches from flat turf to all-weather tracks to prevent races from being abandoned when the original racing surface is deemed unraceable. The policy will apply in cases of deterioration in the ground conditions when horses, participants and customers have arrived or are already travelling to an event.

In the event of a switch, trainers will be able to withdraw their horses with no penalty. Any horses that remain will run as advertised on the racecard. Currently, only Lingfield Park in Surrey has both an all-weather and flat turf surface.

BHA head of racing and betting Tom Byrne said questions on the matter had been raised after a Lingfield fixture was abandoned in 2022. He said: “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, allowing 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.”

In March, the BHA announced that Rod Street would step down as CEO of Great British Racing Limited (GBR) at the end of April. He led the promotion and marketing of British horse racing for 12 years.

Street confirmed that he will remain involved in racing, with plans to launch a coaching and mentoring venture. He will remain CEO of the British Champions Series Limited, a post he has occupied since 2011, until later in the year.