The European Pattern Committee (EPC) has today announced alterations to the Weight For Age Scale, to be implemented from 2017. The changes are being made in the interests of fairness and competitiveness and were agreed across all nations who form part of the EPC.
The purpose of the Weight For Age scale is to give an allowance to younger horses, usually three-year-olds, to enable them to compete equally with their older counterparts. It should not therefore unfairly advantage any particular age group, but should instead allow for a broadly equivalent strike rate for both three-year-olds and for older horses when competing together.
A thorough and robust, year-long analysis of European race results has been undertaken of runners over six years showing that, under the existing Scale, three-year-olds have a higher strike rate than older horses, which is particularly noticeable from July onwards, and over longer distances. The analysis also demonstrated that as distance increases, so does the strike rate and average winning distance of three-year-olds, providing them with an unintended and unfair advantage over older horses.
As a consequence steps have been taken to amend the Weight For Age Scale from the second half of June onwards and over 10 furlongs and above, with adjustments ranging in size from a small reduction of 1lb (or ½ kilo) at 10, 11 and 12 furlongs to a maximum decrease of 3lb (or 1½ kilos) over longer distances where the advantage afforded to three-year-olds was shown to be the most acute. The full, revised Weight For Age Scale can be found attached to this press release.
All the decisions made are based on extensive consultation with stakeholders, across Europe, alongside significant statistical analysis.
Brian Kavanagh, Chairman of the EPC, said:
“When we embarked upon this project we had two clear objectives in mind – to ensure that the Weight For Age Scale was meeting its core objective of providing a level playing field for all runners, and to ensure that the Scale remained consistent across all of Europe. We believe that both of those objectives are achieved by the modifications announced today.
“Implementing change to something as complex and integral as the Weight For Age Scale could not be done on a whim, and nor could it be carried out without the buy-in of all the nations who are being asked to implement it. To achieve support for the adjustments to the Scale across all of Europe is a testament to the rigour of the analytical process, the clear evidence it produced and also to the progressive attitude of European racing nations.”