What happens if a jockey is unseated at, or on the way to, the start?
Under current British Horseracing Authority (BHA) rules, if a jockey is unseated, for whatever reason, before the start of a race, they may remount, provided that the course doctor and veterinary surgeon say that it is safe to do so. However, since November 2, 2009, once the field is ‘under starter’s orders’, if a jockey parts company with their horse they cannot remount to complete the race and, without exception, will be disqualified if they do. Not only that, but a jockey is also not allowed to ride their horse back to the unsaddling enclosure unless horse and jockey have, once again, been cleared by racecourse medical staff.
Of course, the rule change on remounting introduced the possibility of no finishers and, therefore, no result in a race and that is exactly what happened in a novices’ chase at Towcester on March 17, 2011. Two of the four runners fell and unseated rider, independently, at the sixth fence and one of the remaining two tried to refuse and fell at the final fence, badly hampering the other and causing him to unseat his rider. The race was voided, along with all bets upon it, and all stakes contributed by owners prior to the race were returned.