Conduct of Racing

As of April 2022

1. Licensing

Visiting Trainers and Jockeys are required to attend a licensing interview with the JRA stewards for the issuance of their license upon his/her arrival. All trainers and jockeys who are granted a license agree to be bound by the JRA Rules of Racing.

2. Lead Ponies and Assistant Starters (Gate Crews)

Lead ponies are not used and cannot be brought into Japan. JRA does not have any assistant starters situated inside the starting gate stall in order to keep the horse in check.

3. Starting Gate Loading Procedures

All JRA races use a Starting Gate System. The Starting Gate is a movable set of stalls with gates that open simultaneously at the start of the race. Prior to running in races conducted by the JRA, only horses which passed a gate test prior to the final declaration are able to run in the race.

During the gate test, the starter will check the necessary loading procedures for a minimum twice, and a horse needs to be approved by the starter as being capable of loading, standing still and leaving (jumping out of) the stalls. Trainers are required to inform the JRA after the preliminary nomination if the horse has any unruly or specific behavior at the start. However, no special loading request will be permitted apart from request to load the horse first for efficient loading.

Loading will take place under the direction of the starters. As a general rule, horses with odd numbers in the draw will be loaded first, followed by those with even numbers, and the horse with the highest number in the draw will be loaded last no matter whether the number is odd or even. This procedure is taken for the safety of horses and people concerned, for speedy and efficient loading to start the race.

However, horses with blindfolds or those horses with bad records at loading may be loaded first no matter whether the draw is odd or even. Should there be an unruly horse with the highest number, the starter may decide to load the horse with the second highest number draw last. *Barrier blanket is NOT permitted to be used.

4. Race Day Schedule (Trainers, Assistant Trainers and Grooms)

(1) Saddling Enclosure
The time schedule differs depending on the each race, so please make sure to check the saddling area meeting time in advance and take horses to the saddling enclosure by specified time.

(2) Saddle Inspection
The pre-weighed Saddles must inspected again at saddling enclosure by trainers (or representative) or jockeys are required to weigh the saddle after the saddling time of the race.

(3) Leading to Starting gate
JRA staffs lead horses to the starting gate. If the horse needs to lead by groom, trainers are required to inform JRA staff at parade ring.

(4) After the race
Trainers must remain in the weighing room from the time of finish until the race is official. The steward or starter may call the trainer to interview about the events during the race.

(5) Post-race testing
The first three placed horses, and horses designated by the stewards of the meeting, must report to the sample (for blood or urine test) collecting enclosure.

(6) Post-race official veterinary check
After the race, the horses must be examined by a JRA veterinarian and be washed eyes at the clinic before returning to their stalls.

5. Insurance

  1. a) JRA will not be responsible for horse insurance and connections are advised to make their own insurance arrangements for horse.
  2. b)All visiting horse connections (Owners, Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Travelling Head Lads, Exercise Riders and Grooms) are strongly recommended to arrange their own insurance to cover travel, work, non-work injury and illness.
  3. c)All visiting jockeys will be covered by the JRA’s accident compensation policy during under the control of the JRA.

6. Nosebleeding (Epistaxis)

When a horse bleeds from the time of saddling area meeting until leaveing course, the JRA Rules of Racing prohibits the horse from racing in the JRA races for one month for the first offence.