Official Statement from Wetherby Steeplechase Committee Ltd

13th October 2014

Following the statement made by the British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) today, regarding their findings into the Official distances used at the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting, Jonjo Sanderson, Wetherby Steeplechase Committee Chief Executive, said:

“We are grateful to the BHA for their help in identify the discrepancies between the Official distances programmed at the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting, and at previous race meetings, and the actual distances that were achieved during the two-day meeting.

“Having undertaken a great deal of analysis and data gathering following the race meeting on 1st November, it was recalled that at the race meeting on Wednesday 25th November 2009, emergency track modifications were implemented prior to racing, at the request of the Professional Jockeys Association northern safety officer, due to issues with false / waterlogging ground in front of the Millennium Stand.

“These emergency modifications were implemented in collaboration between ourselves, the BHA Racecourse Inspectorate and the Jockeys’ northern safety officer, which resulted in the separate Hurdle and Steeplechase bends at the eastern end of the racecourse (the ‘away’ bend) being reversed so that the horses were no longer required to cross over in front of the Winning Post, but instead, at the entrance into the back straight.

“Following the fixture on 25th November 2009, it was agreed by all parties that the revised layout was a great improvement on the previous configuration, which had been in place since October 2008, and that it should remain as the default track configuration.  At the time the emergency modifications were implemented, it was not considered that the reversal of the two bends would impact on the Official race distances and as such none of our starts were thought to be remeasured.

“Wetherby wishes to acknowledge its part in this unfortunate error and apologises to all parties affected by this since 2009.  Furthermore, we are naturally extremely grateful that this discrepancy has been brought to our attention.

In order to rectify this issue, the BHA and Wetherby have spent a great deal of time since the bet365 Charlie Hall meeting concluded remeasuring the hurdle and steeplechase tracks in order to ensure that, going forward, races are staged over their Official distance, and we are grateful for the time the BHA Racecourse Inspectorate has committed to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.

“We also support today’s suggestion by the BHA, that the methodology by which National Hunt racecourses are officially measured should be reviewed and, if necessary, updated, in order to avoid a repeat of an incident of this nature at some point in the future.

For further information please contact:

Jonjo Sanderson
Chief Executive

Mobile:  07831 437453