BHA announces results of wide-ranging review into the deaths of horses at the Cheltenham Festival


THE future of jump racing could be under threat if horse welfare concerns are not addressed, a BHA report has concluded.

A review prompted by the death of six runners at last season’s Cheltenham Festival has made 17 recommendations to minimise injuries at the world-famous sporting event.

PA:Press Association

Vets will now check every horse due to line up at the four-day Festival in March, while weight claims for the conditional riders’ race will be abolished to encourage trainers to use more experienced jockeys.

The final race of the meeting – the historic Grand Annual Chase – will be restricted to 20 runners. There was a field of 22 – two off the maximum – when three horses were killed in the 2m handicap last season.

The report also highlighted that public attitudes to horse welfare are toughening. In a chilling warning it concluded that a failure to address those concerns could put the future of jump racing in jeopardy.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: “British racing must work together to reduce the risk of injuries occurring at The Festival and indeed jump racing as a whole.