Any lameness or veterinary scratching will incur a 8 day suspension for the horse concerned. The duration of the suspension is taken from the day of the race. To consider lifting a 8 day suspension the following requirements must be met:
  • The original scratching must be on an acceptable veterinary certificate prior to the specific race
  • The certificate must state that the horse was examined on or before the date of the race meeting from which it was scratched
  • Details of the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis must be included
  • Any additional information, for example, blood test results, must be included
In order to lift a suspension, a further veterinary certificate stating that the horse has been examined and is fit to race must be provided to the NHA veterinarians. Any scratching for lameness will not be considered for reinstatement. Any lifting of a suspension will remain at the sole discretion of the NHA veterinarians.


Horses that are scratched during a race meeting may be considered as ‘suitable for reinstatement’. Examples of such a situation may include, but not be limited to, horses that have been injured in the starting stalls, or that have been kicked at the start. The trainer will be informed if the horse is suitable to be reinstated. An acceptable veterinary certificate must be presented, and include the wording ‘I have examined the said horse on the above date’. The vet must state that the horse if fit to race on the appropriate date. No horse that is scratched for a lameness will be considered for reinstatement.


The duration of the suspensions imposed on horses suffering an epistaxis has been carefully considered by The National Horseracing Authority Veterinary Surgeons.  It was established that after studying the relevant statistics over the past Racing season that there has been no noticeable increase in epistaxis in horses that return to racing, following a 60 day suspension after a first episode. 

The proposal was approved by the National Board of Directors to maintain the suspension for a first bleed of 60 days and to reduce the suspension for a second bleed from 180 days to 120 days.  Furthermore, a horse (after suffering an epistaxis) will return to non-bleeder status following 3 (three) clear races of not suffering an epistaxis.

This information will be published on our website


A horse that is suspended indefinitely does not have a time limit on the suspension. Suspension will be lifted on the presentation of a full veterinary report. The horse must then be galloped by the NHA veterinarians on a race day (with prior arrangement). They will then determine whether the horse is fit to return to racing. The horse will be trotted before and after the gallop, and a blood specimen taken. The blood specimen is handled with the same security as a normal race day specimen, and tested for any prohibited substances. Further veterinary reports may be required by the NHA veterinarians. Again, the lifting of the suspension is at the sole discretion of the NHA veterinarians. Horses that will be suspended indefinitely are horses that have been lame on the same limb for three consecutive races.


When considering the 120-Day rule, trainers must inform the Stipendiary Board or the NHA Veterinarians of the reason for a horse’s prolonged absence from racing. Should such a horse be scratched or presented at races for a Veterinary examination and diagnosed with a lameness without prior notification having been received, the horse will be suspended from racing. Re-instating the horse is subject to a Veterinary report from your veterinarian. Such a report must indicate that the horse was examined before and after a racing gallop. Details on the required content of such a report should be discussed with the NHA Veterinarians.