BHA approves ‘wind op’ rule for horse racing betting

23 November 2017

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is to introduce a new rule that requires racecards to state if a horse has recently undergone wind surgery.

From January 19, 2018, racecards must declare if a horse is having its first run after tie back, hobday, tie forward, epiglottic or soft palate cautery surgery by printing the initials ‘WS’ next to the horse.

In a statement on its website, the BHA said the measure will be introduced with the “needs of the sport’s betting customer as the focus”, as well as in the interest of “openness and transparency”.

The BHA said a recent survey by the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) found that information on wind surgeries is the piece of information most requested by UK punters.

While the new measure will benefit betting customers, the BHA also said that the rule will allow it to collect research data on the nature, frequency and impact of wind surgeries on racehorses.

Jamie Stier, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said: “The sport’s betting customers, and potential customers, are at the heart of this development; it is simply essential that the sport is seen to be open, fair and transparent.

“In a modern world, information which may have an impact on a horse’s performance should be available to all, not only those who are close to the horse in question.

“The more data that is available to the betting customer serves to make the sport a more attractive betting product; it is vital that we keep up with other sports if we are going to continue to compete in an increasingly crowded betting marketplace.

“Declaration of wind operations is already mandatory in some other racing nations, and the BHA are led to believe that other racing nations will also consider following suit following the BHA’s implementation of the changes.”

HBF chair Simon Rowlands added: “HBF welcomes this initiative by the BHA and the decisive way in which it has responded to requests for wind-operation data from a section of the British horseracing public surveyed by HBF.

“The requirements asked of the sport’s professionals for declaring wind operations and the procedures involved in exposing the resulting information to the public seem reasonable and pragmatic.

“HBF looks forward to discovering, along with the wider public, the value that exists in this data once it starts to be published.”

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