After being warned about the high amount of non runners he was declaring six years ago, British horse racing trainer Pat Morris faces earning an unwanted record if things don’t improve.
A more recent report put out by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) revealed that Morris’ non-runner rate was the highest in British racing, with 24 of the 104 horses he put out eventually being declared non-runners.
The Liverpool based trainer now faces becoming the first ever trainer to lose his right to self certify non-runners because of the issue.
Director of media at the BHA, Robin Mounsey said: “The objective is that we won’t have to ban anyone, hopefully, in six months’ time when the potential sanctions would kick in, everyone on the list will have reduced their non-runner rate sufficiently that no one is over the thresholds.
“If that happens, then we’ve suddenly knocked out quite a lot of non-runners from the system. Publishing now gives everyone six months to get their house in order.”
A rise in non-runners hinder horse racing as a betting product, meaning the sport misses out on crucial revenue that is provided by gambling operators. Furthermore, regularly being declared a non-runner is something that’s considered detrimental to the well being of the animals.
Responding to the results, Morris commented: “When you declare at 48 hours, a horse could be running at 9 o’clock on Friday night and you declare on Wednesday morning. Two and a half days in a racehorse’s life is a long time.
“I will be doing everything I can to get these figures down by next April and it’s only a small sample but the most important thing to me is horse welfare. If I think a horse is a little bit stiff or sore or whatever, welfare is the number one thing. I don’t set out to have non-runners, I set out to have runners, but I’m not going to run a horse just to get my figures right.
“It looks bad, I admit, but I think it’s down to looking after the horses’ welfare more than anything.”
The list also included eight flat season trainers and just one jumps trainer, any trainers that remain above the threshold level of 14% after six months will be no longer able to declare non-runners without the inspection of a qualified veterinarian.