Weatherbys is at the heart of British horseracing, and it is our responsibility to assist the British Horseracing Authority in its role of ensuring the smooth running of racing 364 days of the year in the UK. We do this by providing administrative and data management services on their behalf.
On this page, you will find links to information on the various registrations required to participate in racing. Plus, what happens before, and after a race, to make sure that information is correctly recorded and the BHA rules followed.
Weatherbys is proud to play its part in maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and fairness that are such a feature of the British racing scene.
A number of the racing-related registrations required in order to participate in British horseracing (and that are managed and administered by Weatherbys), have their own pages. You can access them directly from the following links.
Recording & Publicising of the Race Programme
Weatherbys is involved in publicising race opportunities to trainers, owners and the general public, from the point that the Fixture List is agreed by the industry.
Race programmes appear on the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing Administration website (www.racingadmin.co.uk) and in more traditional, printed publications. They are first published in the quarterly Programme Book and are then confirmed in the weekly Racing Calendar, which has been published by Weatherbys on behalf of racing’s governing body since the late eighteenth century.
Details of the major races throughout Europe are published in the European Pattern Race Annual, a publication which involves Weatherbys in liaison with the Racing Authorities of Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Turkey in addition to the BHA.
Entries may be made online through the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing Administration website, or via Weatherbys Racing Operations Call Centre. For most races, entries under Rules close five or six days in advance of the race. Sometimes, races or meetings are rearranged at short notice, for example due to weather conditions.
Entries for major races may close several weeks in advance and, in the case of The Derby, on the first Tuesday in December of the horse’s yearling year, some 18 months ahead of the race.
Although the majority of owners prefer to leave decisions up to their trainer about where and when their horse will run, it is possible for owners to make entries and declarations themselves.
Qualification & Weight Allocation
Weatherbys is responsible for the issue of race weights to the media.
All race conditions are coded on the database by us, and the performance record of each horse is run against this coding at entry to ensure that it is qualified and given the correct weight. From the entry stage onwards the horses’ performances are constantly monitored, against the race conditions, for any changes, such as penalties or ineligibility.
Foreign performances are updated for each entry where applicable or, if a horse is imported, a full performance record is added. Similarly, if a horse is sent abroad for a single race, details of that performance will be updated.
Median sales values and European Breeders’ Fund nominations are also loaded to the database as these details can determine whether or not a particular horse is eligible for its chosen race.
We maintain lists for those races with qualifying rounds to determine which horses are eligible for finals.
For handicaps and rating-related races, we liaise with the BHA’s team of Handicappers to ensure that all qualified entries are rated and weighted correctly.
Weatherbys is also responsible for the maintenance of the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings database, which involves updating the central database with results from North America, South America, Australasia, Japan, South Africa and Europe.
Booking the jockey to ride is usually carried out by the jockey’s agent but may also be arranged by the trainer or owner directly.
Jockeys can be booked by telephone or through a dedicated website. Any problems with the availability of jockeys, double and parallel bookings, jockey changes and, most importantly, jockeys’ claims are all handled by us - often in liaison with foreign Racing Authorities. The deadline for finalising a jockey booking is 1.00pm on the day of declaration.
Declarations to run must be made 10:00am two days before the race for Flat racing, some high profile jump races and for all racing on Sunday. For other jump races the declaration stage falls on the day before the race.
We are able to send electronic files to our data customers within 15 minutes of the declarations deadline closing. This forms the list of runners and riders for each race which appears in your newspaper or racecard.
At the declaration stage, a number of processes are carried out: the elimination of horses in order to reduce races to the maximum field size (for both safety reasons and to ensure that every runner has its own stable on arrival at the racecourse), the draw for stalls position in flat races and the allocation of reserves for high profile races.
In addition, trainers will have declared alternative colours (sometimes referred to as “second colours”) where an owner has multiple runners in a race.
From our records, we customise data files which are exported, transferred and seamlessly integrated into our customers’ databases. Clients such as Timeform, Racing Post, The Press Association and our own Racecard Department receive updates from the entry stage right through to jockey declarations.
This data is then used in their publications to form some of the most detailed and accurate information in world racing.
Information for Officials On-Course
The job of the racecourse official has become increasingly reliant on computer assistance. We provide up-to-the-minute digital race day information to the Clerks of the Scales, Stipendiary Stewards, Judges, and Veterinary Officers. This includes details of a horse’s previous form, starting stalls history, microchip number, weight to be carried and rider details.
Throughout the day, the racecourse officials will add to or amend this data. Immediately after the result is called, finishing positions are transmitted directly from the Judge’s Box back to the Weatherbys database. Coupled with a further digital feed from the Clerk of the Scales detailing non-runners, riders and weights carried, this information forms the basis of prize money payments.
Other updates follow at the end of the racing day, including veterinary treatment notes, details of disciplinary offences or fines and starting stall transgressions. All are loaded to the database and verified by Weatherbys staff prior to being relayed back to the racecourse officials on duty the next day.
Receiving & Processing Race Results
The work does not stop when the races have been run! The Race Results team is responsible for ensuring that the official results for all races run in Great Britain and Ireland are added to the database at Weatherbys. This is vital work as these results help establish the weight a horse will carry in a weight for age race and the rating it receives, which determines how much it will carry in a handicap race.
The team records any incidents, such as a horse having been unruly at the start which may require it to pass a Stalls Test before it can race again.
This team also maintains a database of Irish Race and Point-to-Point results and supports the British Horseracing Authority’s Race Day Officials.