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Punters Get Their Way As BHA Makes Wind Op Rule Change

Sprinter Sacre, a horse who famously thrived following a wind op, with trainer Nicky Henderson
Sprinter Sacre, a horse who famously thrived following a wind op, with trainer Nicky Henderson

Change is afoot in British racing as trainers will soon have to declare when their horses have undergone wind operations, the BHA has ruled.

The new directive will be enforced from January 19, after which time a marker will appear beside a horse's name indicating that it has undergone a wind surgery since its last racecourse appearance.

The news has been widely welcomed by punters and those groups that represent their rights, who believe it will prove enlightening for them as a horse can sometimes improve markedly after a procedure of this type.

The point must be made, of course, that improvement is not always forthcoming after the op and the knowledge that an animal has had one is hardly like being handed the keys to the safe for bettors.

But while punters have been refreshed with the move toward further transparency by the regulator, some trainers have voiced their displeasure with developments. Their concerns are well-founded - particularly because a history of a wind operation can damage a horse’s value in the bloodstock world.

The body that represents them, the National Trainers Federation, has called for a period of data collection before a change is enacted.

“The BHA has opted to ignore the opportunity for an evidence-based approach on this issue. We believe that is poor regulation," they said in a statement.

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