2nd January 2013 was the day that racing changed forever…well rescheduled races anyway. Races that are resceduled are done so at a cost to the Levy Board, their revenues are generated from betting, so it should not have come as a suprise that the following was inserted in the BHA Press Release:
Original entries will not stand and trainers wishing to make an entry must do so by noon on Thursday, January 3rd. Should the race receive fewer than four overnight declarations it may potentially be cancelled.
A non championship race has been rescheduled at a cost and the BHA/Levy Board want their moneys worth, and given the implementation of the new Novice Chase rules which is designed to increase the number of runners in a race, then the “four overnight declarations” request is more than adequate.
But why the four? Well the End Of Season Ratings of the declared runners is used to assess the quality of the race for the Pattern Book, in this case a Grade 2 Novices’ Chase average needs to be above 130 to keep it’s Grade 2 status, if only 3 runners declared then an OR of 100 is given for the NR, 2 runners then there’s 2 x OR 100. The ratings of the 3 declared were 153, 152 and 135, so even if including the 100 average would have been 135, a stone below last years renewal (149.50), but well within the buffer zone. This could have been their get out clause should they wished to allow the race to go ahead, yet the BHA seemingly want more for their £.
So why only 3 declared, well that is a very good point. It’s plain to see that BHA wanted four runners at the very least at overnight declaration stage, the “Self Certificate” system relating to Non Runners would have allowed either Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson engage a stablemate, declare him as a Non Runner in morning “Self Cert”, and just means you are not allowed to declare him for 7 days…no big deal. A case of don’t blame the system, play the system, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have dropped a clanger here.
What next? Well BHA mean business and want a decent return on their’s and Levy Board’s time and effort in rescheduling races, NTF, and the above named trainers will call it a ludicrous decision, and claim foul, but the devil is in the detail. It was there in black and white for the first time ever in Press Release, and when trainers are boycotting races for poor prize money, is there any wonder the BHA are pulling races for poor turnout. It was only a matter of time before the actions of trainers on Wednesday 11th July 2012 came and bite them on the arse.