Four horses will carry the letters “WS” against their name on Friday’s racecards, the first day of the British Horseracing Authority’s controversial new regime which requires trainers to declare when a horse has undergone a wind operation since its latest start.

One runner at Chepstow – Alberobello in the 3.20 race – has been declared as having had wind surgery since his last start on 25 October, as have three more on the card at Musselburgh: Dancing Amy (1.45, last race on 29 November 2017), Dr Hooves (4.00, last race 5 April 2017) and Wimpole (4.00, last race on 29 November 2017).

The BHA’s move was in response to a growing clamour from punters for more information on wind surgery, prompted by big-priced victories for horses such as Knockara Beau, at 66-1 in the 2014 Cleeve Hurdle, and The Rainbow Hunter, the 25-1 winner of the same year’s Sky Bet Chase. It subsequently emerged that both horses had undergone operations since their previous start.

“We have been very clear that any assumptions of the effect of wind operations on performance must be made entirely by the betting public,” David Sykes, the BHA’s director of equine health and welfare, said on Thursday.

“This is about openness, transparency and access to data for the betting customer. The Horseracing Bettors Forum [which lobbies for punters’ interests] told us that their research said that this is the piece of data that is most requested by the betting public.”

The National Trainers’ Federation said when the move was announced in November it was “concerned on several fronts” while the Flat trainer Mark Johnston claimed it was “a tragedy for the industry and the breed” which was based on “bad science”.

The NTF’s concerns included whether horses arriving from abroad would be subject to the same regime but the BHA confirmed on Thursday that this would be the case.

The NTF was also worried that the penalty structure for breaches of the new rule could lead to a trainer being suspended in some circumstances.

The penalties published on Thursday suggest a maximum fine for a first offence of £650. However, the BHA later confirmed that serious deception – for instance, to land a betting coup – would be considered conduct prejudicial to the integrity or good conduct of racing, which can lead to the suspension of a trainer’s licence.

 

 

 

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