What is a stop race flag?

In horse racing, a stop race flag is, as the name suggests, a flag waved by racecourse officials, such as the starter and advanced flag operator, or recall man, to bring a race to a halt. Once the stop race flag is deployed, jockeys must immediately stop riding – regardless and the race must be declared void.

In Britain, from January 4, 2021 onwards, the stop race flag has featured orange and yellow quarters, to increase its visibility compared with the previous all-yellow flag. Likewise, for clarity and the safety of all concerned, including jockeys, racecourse staff and spectators, the stop race procedure has also been revised.

Under the new rules, the waving of the stop race flag is still accompanied by the blowing of whistles, to provide an audible, as well as visible, signal to jockeys, but multiple flags must be deployed in one, or preferably more than one, location. The new stop race procedure received a timely examination when, on March 1, 2021, one of the runners in a maiden hurdle at Plumpton broke down in the back straight, leaving the rest of the field with nowhere to go to avoid the stricken horse on the second circuit.