Horse Racing Rules
When framing the rules for the running of a race the Jockey Club had to consider the interests of several different parties, however, the three key areas are the welfare of the horse, the safety of the rider and the integrity of the sport with regard to the interests of the betting public. In total there are about 300 Racecourse Stewards operating on the 59 British tracks at the 1,100 plus fixtures held each year.

At every meeting a panel of four stewards will be responsible for the conduct of the day's racing, although only three will sit on an enquiry, thereby avoiding the possibility of a split decision. The Racecourse Stewards are approved and trained by the Jockey Club. Racecourse Stewards are advised by Jockey Club employed Stewards' Secretaries. On average, two of the fourteen Stewards' Secretaries are on duty at each meeting, with three present at major fixtures such as Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival.

With the help of specially positioned cameras, Racecourse Stewards monitor the running and riding of every horse competing on the day. The cameras provide the coverage to four television screens in the main stewards' room. Further screens are also provided in the stewards' viewing boxes. Each race can be viewed from a minimum of four angles; head-on and side-on views of the home straight, a "scout" camera provides a view from the rear of the field and further camera positions follow the runners in the back straight. Racecourse Stewards will also have access to other camera angles from television companies broadcasting from the course.

The stewards and stewards' secretaries watch each race "live" from their viewing boxes and also from the stewards' room watching the camera angles as the race unfolds. In particular, stewards are looking out for possible breaches of the interference rule (Rule 153), the guidelines on use of the whip (Instruction H9) and horses not running on their merits (Rules 155-158). The Jockey Club's Disciplinary Committee and Department consider, amend and publish Jockey Club Instructions as necessary, and recommend Rule changes to the Stewards of the Jockey Club.

The rule governing interference between horses during a race is Rule 153. Rule 153 exists fundamentally to protect the safety of both horse and rider while additionally promoting fair race-riding. A racecourse enquiry held under this rule will determine whether or not the horse and rider responsible for causing interference are punished, either through the demotion of the horse or suspension of the rider, or both.


Important Rules of Horse Racing

Rule 153
:: When a horse or its Rider has caused interference.
For the purpose of this Rule the following definitions apply:-

Intentionally causing interference
A rider is guilty of intentionally causing interference if he purposely interferes with any other horse or rider.
Reckless riding
A rider is guilty of reckless riding if he shows no regard to the consequences of his actions and/or the risk to others and, in particular, the danger of injury to or interference with, other horses or riders.
Irresponsible riding
A rider is guilty of irresponsible riding when interference is caused by some manoeuvre of the rider and where it ought to have been obvious to the rider that interference would be the result.
Careless riding
A rider is guilty of careless riding if he fails to take reasonable steps to avoid causing interference or causes interference by misjudgement, or inattention.
Accidental riding
A rider has taken all reasonable steps to prevent the interference from occurring or the interference was due to circumstances beyond the rider's control.


Instruction H9 - Use of The Whip
When examining cases of Excessive Frequency, the Stewards will consider all the relevant factors such as:

Whether the number of hits was reasonable and necessary over the distance they were given, taking into account the horse's experience;
Whether the horse was continuing to respond;
The degree of force that was used; the more times a horse has been hit the stricter will be the view taken over the degree of force which is reasonable.


Instruction H8 - Whip Specifications
The Stewards of the Jockey Club give notice that they only approve whips which fall within the following specifications:

Maximum length, including flap, of 68 cms;
Minimum diameter of 1 cm.

The only additional feature which may be attached to the whip is a flap.
If a flap is attached it must fall within the specifications below:

A maximum length of flap from the end of the shaft of 10 cms;
A maximum width of the flap of 4 cms, with a minimum width of 2 cms;
The flap from the end of the shaft must not contain any reinforcements or additions.

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