What happens if a jockey unseats at, or on the way to the start?
In November, 2009, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduced a new rule, which forbade jockeys from remounting their horses, upon pain of disqualification, at any point in a race after the field comes ‘under starter’s orders’. There are no exceptions to the rule, which introduced the possibility of races being declared ‘void’ because none of the runners complete the course unscathed. Indeed, that eventuality occurred for the first time in a novices’ chase at Towcester in March, 2011, when all four runners fell or unseated rider.
However, in the case of a jockey who parts company with his or her mount on the way to the start, or after arrival, but before the horses are in the stalls, or lined up at the start, remounting is permitted, certain caveats. Regardless of the reason for the jockey being unseated, the course doctor and veterinary surgeon must be in agreement that remounting is safe and in the best interest of horse and rider. Provided both are free from injury and the horse’s tack is intact, the jockey is allowed to remount and continue.