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    Aintree Grand National Festival reintroduces pre-race veterinary procedures as part of their protocols
Aintree Grand National Festival reintroduces pre-race veterinary procedures as part of their protocols
Trainers gathered around a table, filling out medical forms for their horses. Source: Midjourney

Aintree Grand National Festival reintroduces pre-race veterinary procedures as part of their protocols

The 2024 Aintree Grand National Festival will implement comprehensive veterinary protocols before the races to enhance safety and ensure that horses are in optimal condition when they participate. Similar to previous years, trainers entering horses in the Grand National, Foxhunters' and Topham Steeplechases must provide detailed information about their horses' treatment and medication to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). These records are submitted in stages and include videos of each horse trotting.

Horse in the paddock. Source: Midjourney
Horse in the paddock. Source: Midjourney

Completion of Medical Forms is mandatory

In 2024, the requirement to submit medical forms has been extended to races taking place on the Mildmay and Hurdles courses, aligning with the practice followed at the Cheltenham Festival. All runners in all races are now required to complete medical forms.

The information provided by trainers is stored digitally and evaluated by BHA Veterinary Officers. If necessary, the officers will collaborate closely with trainers and stable veterinary surgeons to conduct additional assessments to ensure that a horse is fit for racing.

Trainers have been informed about the specific requirements and deadlines for the pre-race day veterinary and medical declaration, with the BHA offering guidance and support to facilitate a smooth process.

To streamline the medication declaration process, the BHA and Aintree Racecourse are working with Equine MediRecord (EMR), an online platform for the secure submission of medication declarations. EMR was successfully used during the 2023 Grand National Festival and the recent Cheltenham Festival, and it is a familiar system for many trainers from Britain and Ireland.

BHA Veterinary Officers will continue to oversee the pre-race examination and trot-up for all runners in all races at the Aintree Grand National Festival. This process will take place at the racecourse on the morning of each race.

Veterinary Officers conducting pre-race examinations of horses at the Aintree Racecourse. Source: Midjourney
Veterinary Officers conducting pre-race examinations of horses at the Aintree Racecourse. Source: Midjourney

Message of gratitude from Executives

James Given, the BHA Director of Equine Regulation, Safety and Welfare, expressed gratitude to trainers and teams for their cooperation and positive involvement in processes aimed at enhancing the safety of the sport and minimising avoidable risks. He specifically thanked those with horses entered in the Grand National, Foxhunters' and Topham Steeple Chases for providing or in the process of submitting the required information during the initial stages.

Given also expressed satisfaction with the renewed collaboration with Equine MediRecord, which facilitates more efficient analysis of each horse's medical data and clinical records. He hoped that this would result in an improved user experience.

Pierce Dargan, the Chief Executive Officer of Equine MediRecord, expressed delight in expanding their partnership with the BHA and The Jockey Club to utilise their EMR platform in assisting trainers with the mandatory pre-race day veterinary procedures for the Grand National festival, similar to their involvement in the Cheltenham Festival earlier in the year.

Dargan explained that the EMR platform securely collects and stores the horse's veterinary history and treatment information online, allowing for easy uploading of the necessary data to comply with the established protocols. He also mentioned that EMR is already utilised by trainers worldwide, including in Britain and Ireland, for managing veterinary records on a daily basis, and their team is ready to provide additional support as required.

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