What is a supplementary entry?

Typically, horses are entered into races on a six-day, or five-day, cycle, with final declarations required two days before raceday by 10am. An entry fee, in accordance with the scale laid down by the governing body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), is payable by the owner at the time of entry, but there is no further charge for making a final commitment to run.

However, in certain major races, entries can be made weeks, months or even years in advance. Horses can be entered into the Derby, for example, in the December of their yearling year, with further further forfeit and entry stages in the March, April and May. Last, but by no means least, on the Monday before the Derby – which is run on the first Saturday in June – owners have a final opportunity to make what is known as a ‘supplementary entry’.

According to the BHA, the fee for supplementary entry should be substantial enough to make the option ‘relatively unattractive’. In the case of the Derby, for which the total prize fund is in the region of £1.5 million, the supplementary fee is £75,000, or approximately 5% of the tota prize money. What that means, in practical terms, is that any horse supplemented for the Epsom Classic must finish fourth or better in order to recoup the entry fee. Thus, an owner must be well-heeled and supremely confident in the ability of the horse in question to even consider following the supplementary entry route.