Have The BHA Taken Things Too Far With The Bans Distributed?

⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus


Cast your mind's back to the concluding race on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival - the National Hunt Challenge Cup for Amateur Riders; painful to think how long that was ago now..

The outcome of the race - won by the Ben Pauling-trained Le Breuil, angered many personnel inside and outside the sport, with ten horses falling or unseating - one of them fatally, with a further four pulling up absolutely knackered.

However, the notion of the intervention that the stewards had after the contest had completed, raised several eyebrows and led to many criticising the British Horseracing Authority's response instead to the jockeys' actions onboard the beaten horses.

Eighteen horses began the four mile contest resulting in only four managing to complete the course, with the BHA handing out bans to three riders who were deemed to have 'continued in the race when it appeared to be contrary to the horse's welfare', while another was banned for 'using his whip when his horse was showing no response'.

The BHA have suggested that if the horses welfare is to be put amongst paramount priority, the most appropriate and professional people need to be onboard them.

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson - who saddled the well-fancied Ok Corral, was the first to respond to the disgraceful measures set out by the sport's governing body.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "I think it's very sad they're looking at it that way. These races are part and parcel of National Hunt racing. When you start banning this and banning that, my worry is they might one day ban jump racing completely."

One of the riders awarded a ban was Declan Lavery, who finished third aboard the JP McManus-owned Jerrysback, who was some 47 lengths behind the front two who finished - Le Breuil and Discorama.

Henderson said: "What on earth was the jockey on the third horse meant to do? One rule says you have to ride your horse to achieve the best possible placing – but then you're banned for finishing third.

"In my opinion the horse wasn't exhausted. If he'd pulled up he'd surely have been fined. These are good amateur riders - they're nearly professional amateur riders.

"I know we have to look after our sport and think about the public, but I just hope they aren't going too far," he said.

Lavery, 27, labelled his ten-day ban as simply unfair, and has since launched an appeal to officials.

The regulator issued a strong statement post-race, which referred to last year's Cheltenham review – carried out by the sport's ruling body after the death of six horses at the 2018 Festival.

This has such cast a dark cloud over the future of races for amateurs at the prestigious meeting.

It said: "The Cheltenham review was clear that amateur riders should be aware that they are subject to particular public scrutiny and that amateur participation in its current form at future festivals will be under material threat should further incidents occur."

Sir Anthony McCoy was next to post his views, and spoke of his disgust over the BHA's judgment during an ITV Racing broadcast on the Wednesday, expressing his grief and misery over the bans handed out to the jockeys

The 20-times Champion Jockey said: “I’m embarrassed for the British Horseracing Authority.

“Talk about bringing racing into disrepute. The horse that finished third, Jerrysback, he [Declan Lavery] got 10 days for that … I never thought at any stage that he did the wrong thing.

“Are you going to explain to the punters that backed Jerrysback, or the owner, some poor owner would like to come to Cheltenham and get a horse that can walk into the winner’s enclosure and finish third or fourth and you’re going to take that away from them?

"It’s actually a disgrace. You get any person with experience of jump racing, whether it be a trainer, an owner or a jockey that will defend that decision … I guarantee you won’t find one senior person that will.”

Jerrysback who finished third, was not visible on TV replays during the race’s latter stages but stewards evidently took the view that he should have been pulled up before the final fence.

McCoy spoke in favour of many arguing that the chance to be placed and collect some valuable prize money was a good reason for any jockey to continue, and emphasised to all spectators that the horse had completed the course thoroughly unharmed.

Ted Walsh, trainer and father of Ruby Walsh - who landed the day's opening race on Klassical Dream, added his perspective.

(Credit: Racing TV) He said: “If they continue to do this, they will kill National Hunt racing.

“Ninety-nine per cent of riders will know if the horse can’t continue and they’ll pull them up. Only 1% of them [stewards] know what they’re doing.

"It’s a dangerous game. All those people in the stands know it. If you don’t want to watch it, go and look at the croquet," he said.

On the accounts of the latters, the BHA have by reason responded, with a spokesman expressing: “It is the responsibility of jockeys to pull up tired horses.

“This is absolutely fundamental and the rules are clear that priority must be given to the horse if it would be contrary to the horse’s welfare to continue riding out.

"This is why the stewarding panel, which comprises two former jump jockeys, imposed the penalties on the riders.”

⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus


£10+. Odds 1.50 (1/2)+. 13 days expiry. Opt-in. Bet types/free bet restrictions apply. Limited availability. Full T&Cs apply. 18+. New customers only.
Claim Bonus
🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry. gambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏆£20 RISK FREE first bet at Paddy Power on any sports market - money back in CASH if your selection loses 🏆
Paddy Power
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 👏🏻
New customers only, place a min €/£10 bet on any Sportsbook market at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) and we’ll give you €/£30 in free bets. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. See below for full T&C's.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Money Back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses And £10 To Spend In Our Casino ⚡️
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Minimum deposit £10. You must wager your bonus money 3x to make it withdrawable at minimum odds of 1.40 (2/5) in Sportsbook, 25x for Casino. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Free Bets 🌟
New Customers Only. Deposit via Credit/Debit card only and bet £5 @ odds 2.0+ within 7 days of registering; Cashed out bets excluded. Get 2x £10 free bets, valid for set types (1 @ odds 2.0+ or greater) & a £10 casino bonus, wagered 40x to withdraw; Bonuses expire in 7 days; Geographical restrictions apply. Click for T&C?s. 18+|begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💪🏻
New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
🏆 Bet £10 & get a £10 Free Bet 🏆
18+, welcome bonus: New players only, first deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Click to see full T&Cs.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ £30 Welcome Offer! ⚫️
*New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus
Get up to £50 in Free Bets!
*18+. UK/Irish customers only. Cash stakes only. Min €10 stake required for initial £10 free bet. Min odds ½. Max €50 in free bets. One free bet per day. Subsequent free bets credited day after placement. Qualifying bet must be first bet placed within 30 days of opening account on a Sportsbook market. Free/Void or Cash out bets won’t qualify. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔵Bet £10 & Get £30 in FREE BETS + 30 free spins! 🔴
New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & get a £10 Welcome Bonus!
Bet Regal
This offer is for new customers only and is available once per household. Max. Free Bet amount £10. The “Welcome Free Bet” may not be used in conjunction with any other bonus, promotion or offer. The “Welcome Free Bet” must be used at BetRegal.com within 14 days of being credited to your account. BetRegal.com reserves the right, at any time, to revoke any Welcome Free Bet bonus not used within the allotted time period. Full terms & Conditions apply. 18+
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.