BHA to introduce 48-hour declarations for Cheltenham
- BHA to introduce 48-hour declarations for 2018 Cheltenham Fesitval
- The move will mean punters, bookmakers and the media will have more clarity
- Previously declarations were drip fed the information the day before
The British Horseracing Authority has bowed to popular opinion and will introduce 48-hour declarations for all races at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
The overdue move will provide much-needed early clarity for racing fans as well as bettors, bookmakers and the media with regards to running plans and the shape of some of National Hunt racing’s most iconic contests.
The six non-novice Grade 1 contests such as the Stan James Champion Hurdle and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup have operated under 48-hour decs for a number of years, but plenty of Cheltenham’s allure is wrapped up in the big-field handicaps which traditionally attract huge betting turnover.
British Horseracing Authority is to introduce 48-hour declarations for the Cheltenham Festival
Previously, those eager to see which horses would line up for the following day’s action were drip-fed declarations on social media from 10am, but under the new move all parties will enjoy an extra day to focus on the races in question and its participants when promoting the event.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer at the BHA, said: ‘We have taken on board feedback from racing fans, the betting public and the media, and we’re pleased to introduce 48-hour declarations for all races at the Festival, which we believe will have a positive impact on the promotion of the event and be welcomed by the sport’s various customer groups.
‘We appreciate that, in some circumstances, this could create an extra challenge for trainers but we want to ensure that the sport is in a position where it can make the very most of what are such an important four days in the British Racing calendar.’
Robbie Power celebrates winning the Gold Cup on Sizling John in 2017
As part of the move to 48-hour declarations for all races at the Festival, no horse will be permitted to declare more than once at the meeting, whether subsequently declared a non-runner or not, unless eliminated from a race or declared as a reserve. This applies to all races except the six non-novice Grade 1 contests.
All handicap races will have two reserve slots which will have a deadline of 1pm the previous day, as is the case for races such as the Randox Health Grand National and Coral Scottish National.
The move is supported by the BHA’s Racing Group, the Executive of Cheltenham Racecourse and Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) and has come in response to feedback from the Horseracing Bettors’ Forum as well as the racing public and media.