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Why does it take the BHA so long to make a simple decision?

Ron RobinsonThe topic of wind operations has been debated on the Post Racing Facebook wall and the BHA are not coming out of it very well at all.

In the last month we have seen a host of horses winning first time out, following such an operation and when asked by Sean Trivass whether the matter of the betting public being privy to this information, this was their response:

“The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has been considering the proposal to make public wind operations. After initial consultation it is clear this development is not going to be straightforward and wider consultation is required. We are progressing this with trainers, Weatherbys and BHA’s Veterinary Committee with a view to developing a mechanism for effective and meaningful information sharing on the matter.”


Last year, 2014, after Knockara Beau 66/1 and The Rainbow Hunter 25/1 both won first time out following a “wind op” the BHA said this:

“We are committed to exploring any avenues whereby we can improve the levels of information provided to the betting public,” Robin Mounsey, the BHA’s spokesman, said on Monday.

“Extending pre-race information to include news of wind operations is an issue which has been considered in the past and is again being explored now”

“Its introduction will be dependent on the findings of further consultation together with identifying a way to deliver the information in a manner that is both cost-effective and reliable.”

A full year and a bit further on and they still need to talk about it?

The way I see it is this:

  • Trainers advises owner his/her horse needs a wind operation and owners agrees.
  • Vet is called in, performs operation and paperwork to that effect is then signed by both trainer and vet, then sent to BHA
  • BHA then advises those responsible for producing race cards, who then ensure betting public are aware of this by virtue of W1 next to horses name, to indicate first run since wind operation

What is so difficult?

One of the reasons for the perceived reluctance was introduced into the conversation by Chris:

“The detail of any proposal to declare wind operations could be closely scrutinised by trainers, owners and breeders. Since the surgery indicates an infirmity which might have a hereditary basis, an operation could ultimately have an effect not only on its value if sold but also potentially on the value of close relatives, offspring included.”

Chris further argues

“What about the “INTEGRITY OF RACING” that the BHA always harp on about !! Currently what they are saying is happening is akin to selling a car that’s been in a crash and is full of filler, but not telling the buyer…….yet they are using it as a barrier for change?…… Where’s the integrity in that?”

He is spot on. If the BHA is saying they don’t want people to know of this issue because it may effect future sales of horses from the same progeny, due to it being hereditary, where is the honesty in that?

As I myself says during this conversation, if trainers are not shy of telling us AFTER the horse has then won @ 66/1 or 25/1, it has nothing to do with the fear of future sales but all to do with connections effectively doing something that means we are not punting with full knowledge of something that can, and clearly does, influence a result.

Paul Nicholls has never shied away from performing this operation on any of his horses, even the better ones and I have never heard anyone at Ditcheat suggest it may impact on sales of relations? I actually now tend to think anything from that yard has had the op….even the yard cat!

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