Following an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a number of equine deaths at Southwell earlier this year, the British Horseracing Authority and Arena Racing Company confirmed that National Hunt fixtures will resume at the track on November 13.

Carried out by the BHA’s veterinary team, racecourse department and course inspectors alongside ARC, statistical analysis of races run between July 1 and September 3 compared with previous years was undertaken in the review. Feedback was also collated from relevant stakeholders and participants.

The analysis outlined four key recommendations for the track including modifications to all plain fences so that they include a shoulder cut into the apron, which should encourage a horse to improve the shape of its jump over the fence.

Specific modifications to the fences either side of the bottom bend have also been made, with the open ditch prior to the bend modified so that it again encourages horses to improve their jumping shape, and the first fence in the home straight re-sighted as far from the bottom bend as feasible.

Changes to the number of jumps fixtures held between July and September should be considered for 2021 and beyond as well as changes to the National Hunt programme itself to ensure a more even spread throughout all levels of ability. This will see the race programme assessed so opportunities are not lost entirely but are placed elsewhere.

Following the completion of the work and agreement between the BHA and ARC that all changes would be implemented, the decision has been made for jump racing to return to Southwell. The situation will be kept under constant review.

A schooling morning trialling the modifications to the fences took place on Wednesday with a number of trainers and jockeys providing feedback regarding the amendments.

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer of the BHA, said: “The BHA and ARC have worked together to comprehensively review the incidents at Southwell between July and early September, while racing was temporarily suspended at the course as a precaution.

“Having completed analysis of the racing in that period, all those involved agreed there are a small number of changes that can be made which will have a positive impact.

“We appreciate the input from stakeholders and will continue the work already underway to make changes to some of the physical factors at the course, with the aim of making changes to the race programme at the appropriate point in the future.

“The safety of our participants is the top priority for everyone involved in British racing and the sport is constantly taking steps to assess potential risk factors and make improvements where necessary. This process of ongoing review, assessment and improvement has resulted in the fatality, injury and faller rates in jump racing reducing by around one third in the last 20 years.”

Arena Racing Company’s Racing Director Jon Pullin added: “We are extremely grateful to BHA and all of those who have assisted in this review. The recommendations that it has made have been fully implemented at Southwell, ahead of the resumption of jump racing at the racecourse on November 13.”