Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Our Role

Our Role on Raceday

Our Role on Race Day

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board appoints Stewards and Officials each raceday to ensure that the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase (INHS) Rules are complied with.

Raceday Stewards

There must be a minimum of three and a maximum of five stewards for each racemeeting. There is a panel of stewards for each racecourse from which a chairman and deputy chairman are appointed annually. Stewards that act on a raceday are selected from this panel. All stewards must undergo regular training and since 2010 must complete a trainee stewards scheme prior to being eligible to steward.

Stewards must have a detailed knowledge of and interest in horseracing. Stewards are required to step down from any enquiry if they have any conflict of interest and are required on an annual basis to declare conflicts of interest.

The Stewards have full power to make (and if necessary to vary) all arrangements for the conduct of a racemeeting as they think fit or to abandon the meeting, or part of the meeting, or one race of the meeting or to declare a race void.

Stewards view the races to ensure the Rules of Racing and INHS Rules are complied with. This includes determining the outcome of the race should interference have taken place, ensuring all horses are ridden on their merits, and penalising any licensed persons found to be in breach of the Rules.

Stewards act on a voluntary basis and do not receive any remuneration or expenses for the work they carry out.

Racing Officials

The following officials are appointed to act at each racemeeting:

  1. Clerk of the Course
  2. Stewards Secretary
  3. Handicapper
  4. Clerk of the Scales
  5. Starter
  6. Judge
  7. Veterinary Officer
  8. Veterinary Assistant
  9. Medical
  10. Security/Investigations Officer

All officials are licensed annually by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

1. Clerk of the Course

The Clerk of the Course is the person responsible for the general arrangements of the meeting. Each racecourse has a designated clerk of the course and their duties include ensuring that:

  • all courses are properly measured and marked
  • there are proper medical and veterinary personnel, ambulances procedures in place

The Clerk of the Course is also the person having the ultimate responsibility for deciding to bypass a fence or hurdle, having full authority to invoke such bypassing procedures for whatever reason and to take steps they feel necessary in order to address any emergency which might occur during the course of a race including the stopping of a race.

2. Stewards Secretary

The Stewards’ Secretary advises the Stewards, where appropriate, on the interpretation of the Rules of Racing and the INHS Rules as far as they relate to the conduct of a race meeting.

3. Handicapper

The Handicapper apportions the weights for every handicap. There are four handicappers, two of which are responsible for flat racing and two for national hunt racing.

The handicappers are responsible for the publication of weekly ratings based on performances on the racecourse: the higher the rating, the better the horse. The horse’s handicap rating determines its eligibility to run in specific races.

Most handicaps are restricted to horses with ratings in a particular range, 0-70 for example. So the rating not only determines on the weight that a horse will carry, it also determines in which races it can run.

4. Clerk of the Scales

The Clerk of the Scales is responsible for weighing out and in the riders for each race thereby ensuring horses carry the weight allocated to them in the race. They are also responsible for ensuring that the rider wears the correct colours and for reporting any overweight carried by the rider.

5. Starter

The Starter starts the race with the objective of ensuring all horses achieve a fair start. Flat races are normally started from stalls and jump races by tape. The starter is in full control of what happens at the start and has the power to withdraw unruly horses or horses that refuse to load into the starting stalls.

6. Judge

The Judge is responsible for placing the first six horses (or if prizemoney is advertised beyond fifth place the number of extended placed horses) participating in the race which have passed the winning post, the order in which they have passed and the distance which separated them. The Judge shall base a decision exclusively on the position of the horses’ noses at the time they pass the winning post.

7. Veterinary Officer

The Veterinary Officer is responsible for supervising the sampling unit and for the clinical examination of horses on the racecourse and for the provision of advice on veterinary matters to the Stewards. They are also responsible for verifying the identity of horses and checking the vaccinations.

On certain designated racedays, the Veterinary Officer will examine all horses prior to running to ensure that they are fit to run.

8. Veterinary Assistants

The Veterinary Assistant is responsible for assisting the Veterinary Officer on all matters including the identification of horses, sampling and vaccination checks.

9. Medical Officer

The Medical Officer is responsible for the medical supervision of all riders and for the provision of advice on medical matters to the Stewards.

They are also responsible for carrying out examinations on riders prior to being licensed or relicensed in certain circumstances.

10. Security/Investigations Officer

The Security/Investigations Officer is responsible for the security at a racemeeting insofar as it pertains to regulatory matters including the weighroom and stableyard area.

Committee Members
International Role
Members & Stewards
Veterinary
Horse Race


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