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BHA Handicapping Review

Discretion to apply

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.

BHA Approved silks

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.

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1 comment on “BHA Handicapping Review

  1. Jay August says:

    Sometimes context is needed. These changes are not in isolation and come after the minor WFA adjustments. The changes to come are;

    In addition, the BHA Handicapping Team has now employed a new data analyst who will help ensure
    that handicapping methodology is driven by objective and scientific data-interrogation. Alongside the
    Head of Handicapping, they will help to:

    1) Use data analysis to better understand how handicapping effects a horse’s career development & the impact on the sport’s participants, particularly racehorse owners;

    2) Further agree consistent team methodologies, policies and processes;

    3) Devise and publish details of a new time-lapse based poundage scale;

    4) Use data to model and assess the concept of minimum rateable form for potential trial on the Flat;

    5) Define permitted scope for minor ratings adjustments;

    6) Increase transparency via the publication of data analytics which in turn will help better inform, educate and engage stakeholders;

    7) Consistent policies for collateral handicapping to be finalised;

    And then the following has already taken place;

    “All performance figures (except for maiden and novice events) are published on the BHA website
    along with the name of the handicapper who looked after each race”

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