Poor jumpers to be banned


A DRIVE to rid British racing of bad jumpers is the top priority of a wide-ranging Jockey Club report into training and riding standards.

The second stage of an inquiry, launched following the accidental death of jockey Richard Davis, recommends bans for horses that regularly fail to complete.

And it proposes more rigorous examination of prospective trainers knowledge and experience, the level and competence of stable staff and their access to training and schooling facilities.

Trainers who fail to meet a minimum performance standard may not have their licence renewed.

The report also recommends independent assessments of riders' abilities before a licence is granted, unannounced spot checks on training facilities.

In addition practice hurdles should be trialled and the possibility of holding schooling races discussed.

It follows Monday's publication of part one of the inquiry which examined the circumstances surrounding Davis's death to coincide with the inquest into the death of the jump jockey, who was crushed by Mr Sox in a fall at Southwell.

The recommendations will now be examined in detail and introduced gradually with the elimination of horses with little jumping ability the top of the Club's list of objectives.

In the last two seasons an average of 33 horses (0.4 per cent) failed to complete on four consecutive runs and 15 (0.17 per cent) either fell, unseated or were brought down three times in a row.

Davis's former boss Toby Balding, a member of the National Trainers Federation council, welcomed the recommendations.

"Anything that tightens up trainers' responsibilities has to be welcomed. The requirements placed on a licence holder are fair and valid," he said.

"I wouldn't be in favour of practice obstacles and schooling races will just be another expense that the National Hunt fraternity wouldn't stand for.

"I understand what they arc saying about bad jumpers though there are horses I've trained with bad records."