04/03/2006 11:00PM

New group to rule British racing

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Changes in the centuries-old systems by which racing in Britain is run are being introduced at a rapid rate this week. On Monday, the Jockey Club relinquished control of its regulatory aspect over the sport and a new group, the Horseracing Regulatory Authority, took control. And on Tuesday, the British Horseracing Board gave its approval for all races to be drawn on a 48-hour basis.

For 250 years, the Jockey Club has held control of the implementation of the rules of racing. The new regulatory authority is technically a subsidiary of the Jockey Club, but its chairman and director remain independent of the Jockey Club.

The 48-hour entry system - whose ratification is subject to negotiations between the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen's Group - has met with severe criticism from trainers and owners. Aside from Group 1 races, trainers currently may nominate a horse to more than one race on a given day five days in advance and not decide in which race to run until the day before.- Alan Shuback