What is a non-trier?

In horse racing, a ‘non-trier’ is any horse that is prevented, for one reason or another, from running on its merits or, in other words, from running to the best of its ability. Under the Rules of Racing, as maintained by the governing body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), a jockey take all permissible and reasonable measures to ensure the horse has been given the best opportunity to obtain the best placing. However, under certain circumstances, an owner or trainer may instruct a jockey to ride a horse in such a way that it is not given that opportunity.

So-called ‘schooling in public’, for example, refers to the practice of training a horse to race over obstacles, and/or improving its fitness levels, on the racecourse in a live, sanctioned race as opposed to on the training grounds at home. A jockey may instructed not to ask a horse for the ‘timely, real or substantial effort’ demanded by the Rules, resulting in a deliberately below-par performance, which may prove unfairly advantageous to the horse, from a handicapping perspective, and to its connections, from a betting perspective.

Unsurprisingly, raceday stewards take a dim view of schooling in public and other similar offences and will hold an inquiry into the running and riding of any horse suspected to have breached the Rules of Racing. The jockey, owner and trainer of the horse may all be culpable, depending on the nature of the offence and liable to fines and/or suspension. The horse, itself, may be liable a 40-day ban from racing.