12 DAY SUSPENSIONS (Rule 53.5)

Any lameness or veterinary scratching will incur a 12 day suspension for the horse concerned. The duration of the suspension is taken from the day of the race. To consider lifting a 12 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.


Any horse that suffers an episode of uni- or bi-lateral epistaxis during training or racing, will be suspended from racing for a period of 60 days. The period of suspension will be calculated from the day after the episode of epistaxis.

The period of suspension will be recorded in the horse’s passport by a NHA veterinarian.

If a horse has a second episode of epistaxis, it will be suspended for 180 days, unless the horse has raced for a period of 365 days or more since returning to racing, in which case the second suspension would only be 60 days again. A third episode of epistaxis will incur a lifetime suspension from racing.

If there is any doubt as to the source of epistaxis (i.e. the horse hit its head during saddling or in the starting stalls) the suspension may be lifted on presentation of an endoscopic report done by a private veterinarian within 4 hours of the incident. The report must state that the horse was examined via endoscope, the date and time of the examination and the source of the epistaxis. The National Horseracing Authority will cover the cost of the examination if it is shown that Exercise Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (EIPH) was not the cause of the epistaxis.


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 90-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.