Why Cheltenham runners are to be declared 48 hours before races

Starting from the next year, every race that will happen in the Cheltenham Festival will be declared at least 48 hours before the start of the race.  This is coming from the British Horseracing Authority in the wake of the present year’s events. The practice has been that the ‘non-novice Grade Ones’ make the declaration 48 hours before the race. Other races do theirs 24 hours before the race in line with the National Hunt system.

Many people were surprised about this change in status quo and have wondered why it is coming at this time. Many people are seeing it as a radical move and are even more apprehensive of the rule taking place this year. It was only when the British Horseracing Authority clarified that it will take effect from next year’s races that people got relaxed.

Explaining why it took such a radical decision, the British Horseracing Authority chief operating officer named Richard Wayman said that it was as a result of the feedbacks they get from most of the racing fans around. He also said they considered input from the board that takes care of betting for the event and the media that covers it. They posited that after considering the submissions from the mentioned group, they discovered that it would be in the best interest of the parties to shift the declaration periods before the races to 48 hours. They maintained that they are doing this under the belief that it will impact positively on the marketing and promotion angle of the event. They also believe that this change that will start with the Cheltenham races 2018, will be welcomed by various customers of the sports.

Alleviating the fears that many people are having about this change, the officer said that the troubles that this may bring to the trainers are well noted by the body. However, they had to do this because they wanted to ensure that the most important four days in the calendar of racing in Great Britain are properly maximized.

Furthermore, none of the horses will have the chance to declare for two races, except for the non-novice Grade Ones. So, every horse above the grade and below it can only declare for one ace at a time.  The only exceptions for this are that reserve horses and those that were be eliminated from previous races. So, every handicap is allowed 2 reserve slots and the validity period for this will not exceed 1:PM the day, prior to the race.

In commendation of the move, the Horse Racing Bettors’ Forum chairman, Simon Rowlands posited that the forum is in full support of the changes because there were wide consultations before the changes were made. This happened during the last two Cheltenham festivals when people were asked to say what they think about making the declarations 48 hours before the races or so.

He said that the next festival in March is expected to witness the implementation of the changes, and the expected result, is a better promotion for the event.

This is to ensure that the wider sport and betting public are all well served. The skepticism with which people received this news is based on the fear of the unknown. Otherwise, it is a very good idea that will bring in more benefits to the public. People at least need to know the horses that will be out there on time, so as to know how to position their betting markets.