Published in European Trainer, January - March 2018, issue 60.
The word ‘integrity’ must be one of the most commonly used in the output of racing authorities and, in our world, it carries a very particular meaning. Sure, it encompasses the normal definition of ‘adherence to moral and ethical principles’ but, with us, what we’re mostly talking about is the ‘straightness’ of how our sport is run and of those involved.
The latest in the EMHF’s seminar programme, hosted and delivered by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Newbury Racecourse, took integrity as its subject and majored on the processes and criteria by which trainers, jockeys, and others are licensed in Britain, and the structures in place to combat race-fixing and unfair betting practices on horseraces.
The BHA was an appropriate host, since delegates could benefit from the conclusions reached following a major integrity review that British racing’s governing body had undertaken, aimed at improving “confidence amongst participants and the racing and betting public.” The review confirmed that measures to combat race-fixing and doping remained of paramount importance.
Within the BHA’s remit, integrity is certainly given high priority. The very first item under ‘Things we do’ in its latest annual report reads: “Keeping racing fair and clean: We aim to maintain the integrity of British racing by supporting participants to comply with the rules and dealing appropriately and effectively with rule breaches.”
The sheer scale and cost of the infrastructure that is committed to this aim, in a major racing nation such as Britain, may surprise readers. The staff complement of the BHA’s Integrity and Regulatory Departments numbers over 100. Within this total, the 40 or so who make up the field force teams of clerks of the scales, starters, judges, and inspectors of courses are outnumbered by those covering areas such as intelligence (collection, assessment, development), racing & betting analysis, investigations, licensing and registration, stable inspections, anti-doping and equine welfare integrity....