Racing: Poor jumpers fall foul of Club

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The Independent Online
Bad horses will not be allowed to be bad for long under a new set of recommendations in the wake of Richard Davis's death. The jump jockey was killed following a fall on the moderate Mr Sox and it may be that horses of that calibre will be banned in future.

The Jockey Club is to debate a suggestion that animals that do not show any improvement after failing to complete four times in a row or those that fall three times consecutively should be barred from competition.

It is further recommended in a Jockey Club report that prospective racehorse trainers should undergo examination before being granted a licence. Riders too may need to pass independent assessment before being given a licence, and there are plans to introduce unannounced spot checks on training yards to examine schooling facilities and gallops. In addition, practice hurdles and schooling races may soon become a feature of racecourses.

In the last two seasons an average of 33 horses (0.4 per cent) failed to complete on four consecutive runs and 15 (0.17 per cent) either fell, unseated or were brought down three times in a row.

Malcolm Wallace, the Jockey Club's director of regulation and a member of the investigating group, stressed the emphasis of the inquiry is on minimising risk in the sport.

"For as long as horses go fast and jump fences there will be accidents and some of them will be fatal. But we think something can be done to minimise that risk by tackling the problems that exist," he said.

"So our first priority is to find a formula to get rid of the bad horses. We will treat each case on its merits and will use common sense before deciding to ban a horse. But we can't have horses going out and constantly not getting round.

"The problem seems to be manageable. It's hard to believe people still want to race horses that regularly fail to complete, but they do and there are young jockeys who are prepared to sit on anything.

"We have a duty of care to try to ensure that the horses these riders are on are well schooled, if not particularly talented. A lot of the top jockeys agree. They've been through this but they don't want the ones coming up behind them exposed to the same risk.''

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