The British Horseracing Authority have introduced a new aged-based penalty structure for handicap winners which will apply to flat races from the start of the 2019 turf season.
A 2018 handicapping review recommended that a system of giving penalties for handicap winners on a discretionary basis should be introduced to ensure that neither horses carrying penalties nor their opponents were disadvantaged in the short term.
Following consideration of the practical implications of such an approach, as well as feedback from stakeholders, it was decided that a more nuanced penalty structure for winners based on age should be employed instead.
As such, penalties for handicap winners aged two and three will be 6 lb, those aged four to six will be 5lb and those aged seven and above will be 4lb.
This approach was developed following detailed data analysis, including the average ratings rise of horses winning handicaps.