Section 4 – WCRA RULES OF RACING
The following Rules of Racing are drawn up by the WCRA under the authority delegated to it by the Whippet Club.
4.1 The rules shall apply to all race meetings promoted by the Whippet Club Racing Association (WCRA) and to all meetings promoted by clubs affiliated to the WCRA, where they are advertised as being under the WCRA Rules of Racing
4.2 The responsibility for ensuring that the WCRA Rules of Racing are complied with is delegated to the Racing Manager of the WCRA or the affiliated club as appropriate. The Racing Manager’s decision is final at all times.
- Any club affiliated to the WCRA which knowingly or otherwise allows any official, member or person officiating at, or competing in any event advertised as being run under the WCRA Rules of Racing, to breach any of these Rules, may be sanctioned by the WCRA. The sanction may be a fine.
- Any club affiliated to the WCRA which knowingly or otherwise allows any official, member or person officiating at, or competing in a Superstars competition, to breach any of the Superstars Rules may be sanctioned by the WCRA. The sanction may be the withdrawal of points for the event where the breach occurred or the withholding of points for one or more events in the future.
4.4 The Racing Manager shall appoint such officials with the experience as are necessary to ensure the correct and safe conduct of the meeting. It is recommended that where possible officials acting as Line Judges and Track Stewards have at least 3 years experience. There shall be three Track Stewards. For straights, the track shall be deemed to be divided into three equal parts, the Stewards being responsible for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd parts respectively. For Bends, Steward No.1 will be responsible for the opening straight, Steward No.2 for the circumference of the bend and Steward No.3 for the finishing straight.
4.5 The Racing Manager shall ensure that the Finish Line Judges are provided with sheets for recording results, that Track Stewards have an appropriate means of indicating interference or other objections and that the Starter has an appropriate means of signalling to the Lure Driver.
4.6 The Secretary/Racing Manager shall be responsible for producing a Race Programme, which must state as a minimum:
- The meeting is run under the WCRA Rules of Racing.
- A list of officials acting at the meeting.
- The distance and any handicap applying
- The race order split into advertised weight groups, with the owners name, the WCRA registered name of the whippet, the WCRA Passport Number and trap number.
- The weight groups applying, which must fall in the range 14lb to 32lb, with a note that overweight whippets will not run.
4.7 An owner who enters a racing event with their whippet undertakes to abide by the WCRA’s rules. They must abide by the conditions of entry of the event and see that the required details are with the official taking the entry by the advertised closing date. Whippets must have a valid WCRA passport to be entered for the event and can only be entered into a single race group. Full payment of fees is required with the entry, any payment which fails to supply sufficient funds the whippet will be classified as a non-runner. Owners will not bring to the event any dog which has contacted or knowingly been exposed to any infectious or contagious canine disease during the 21 days prior to the day of the event.
4.8 At any race meeting that is promoted by the WCRA and at every event promoted by affiliated clubs and advertised as run under the WCRA Rules of Racing, if in the opinion of three officials of the WCRA or three officials of the club conducting the event, a whippet is considered unfit to run, it will be excluded unless/until the owner is able to furnish the committee with a letter from a Veterinary Surgeon, declaring the whippet fit to race.
4.9 Unqualified persons can provide immediate First Aid for a whippet, but treatment is required to be carried out by a qualified Veterinarian. If an unqualified person carries out treatment, the committee reserve the right to ban those concerned from WCRA events.
4.10 The Racing Manager will be responsible for ensuring that the track complies with that advertised and that the distance between the traps and the finish line is correct. A perimeter barrier must be provided at least six yards from the nearest edge of the track and six yards from the traps.
4.11 Owners are responsible for providing a clean, clearly coloured jacket for their whippet. Numbers and colours are as follows:
No.1 – Red,
No.2 – Blue,
No.3 – White,
No.4 – Black,
No.5 – Yellow,
No.6 –Black/white stripes.
Owners should make every effort to ensure that the racing jacket and muzzle are securely fitted for the entire duration of the race.
4.12 Owners are responsible for ensuring that their whippet’s Passport is available for inspection by any official at any time during the race meeting. Owners must also ensure that on reaching a WCRA Championship final, their whippet’s Passport is handed in for recording the achievement.
4.13 The Racing Manager shall ensure that all whippets entered for competition are identified against their Passports prior to racing, that the Passport is valid and that the whippet is cleared to run a straight or bend as appropriate. 4.14 The Racing Manager shall ensure that checked and accurate scales are available and all whippets are weighed in before racing. Overweight entrants shall be reported to the Racing Manager and declared non-runners. Entrants that fail to make the weigh-in at the advertised time will be declared a non-runner.
4.15 The Racing Manager shall ensure that all bitches are checked before racing and any bitch found to be in season shall be declared a non-runner.
4.16 Owners are responsible for presenting their whippet muzzled and correctly coated at the paddock when requested prior to their race. The Paddock Steward will check that all the whippets are correctly jacketed and muzzled before they proceed to the traps. The Paddock Steward should report all whippets not present. At Championship race meetings all whippet finalists must be checked by the Paddock Steward against their passports, prior to proceeding to the traps.
4.17 All dogs leaving the paddock for the traps shall be coated and muzzled ready for their race. After leaving the paddock only one handler shall be allowed to accompany a whippet to the traps. Everyone else, with the exception of the officials shall at all times remain behind the perimeter barrier.
4.18 The owners of whippets that are not secured throughout the duration of the race meeting will be fined. Notice of this shall be included in the race programme. The meeting will be deemed to have started once the weigh-in commences.
4.19 The Starter will re-check that all whippets are correctly jacketed and muzzled before entering the traps.
4.20 The Starter shall give the necessary orders for the whippets to enter the traps together. Once the dogs are in the traps, no persons are allowed in front of them. Only the starter will check the dogs. The Starter shall have the discretion to require any whippet known to be troublesome to enter its trap first. No person other than members of the trap team may handle the lure. Interference with the lure may lead to disqualification.
4.21 The number one trap (Red) shall be on the left looking down the track in the direction that the whippets will run and will be the back trap when handicaps apply. The trap of any withdrawn whippet shall not be used.
4.22 For scratch racing the lure will be started from in front of the centre trap and for handicap racing from a position to the left of the number one trap.
4.23 All whippets in the first round heats of scratch racing must be put in the correct trap according to the programmed colour, regardless of other traps being vacant. In subsequent rounds the starter may draw a whippet’s trap.
4.24 All whippets will run the full-advertised distance. In handicap racing the front or the lightest dog will always run the full distance from the right hand trap. All handicaps will be measured going backwards from that trap.
4.25 The Starter shall give the necessary order for the lure to be started and for the traps to be opened when the lure reaches a point at least four yards and not more than ten yards from the front trap. 4.26 The Lure Driver is responsible to the Racing Manager and shall as far as is practicable ensure that the lure is at least six yards and not more than twelve yards in front of the leading whippet.
4.27 The Racing Manager shall ensure that there is a run out beyond the finish line in excess of thirty yards and the Lure Driver shall ensure that the lure runs on at racing speed sufficiently so that runners do not decelerate before crossing the finish line.
4.28 The Lure Driver will wait for a signal from the Starter to start the lure. He/she will check that there is no obstacle on the track and will stop the lure if a danger to the runners is present on the track or a loose whippet is in the area of the track.
4.29 The Track Stewards are responsible for ensuring that a whippet fighting or interfering with the running of other dogs, which occurs in the area of the track that they have been assigned to watch, will be noted and the Racing Manager informed immediately.
4.30 Fighting occurs when a Whippet deliberately and aggressively impedes the progress of one or more Whippets during a race by turning it’s head. It is not fighting when:-
- A Whippet ‘lays on’ another Whippet to stop it passing.
- A Whippet tries to jump over the whippet ahead of it.
- A strong and determined Whippet pushes its way through the dog(s) ahead of it.
- A Whippet runs to the inside or outside (even on astraight track) e.g. So that it is on the rails ready for a bend and in doing so pushes other whippet(s) out of the way.
- A Whippet barks while racing.
- A Whippet retaliates when interfered with, because the race ends with the first offence.
- The Racing Manager decides when fighting has occurred after consultation with the Track Stewards.
One Trial on the Day Option
4.31 At the discretion of the race manager, a disqualified whippet will be permitted to undertake one trial at the end of racing on the day and at the place of its disqualification. This trial race should contain ideally three other whippets, one of whom is able to pass the offending whippets and the offending whippet to pass another dog cleanly. If the racing manager clears the whippet, the disqualification form should be completed accordingly by the racing manager or club secretary and the form, or a duplicate, must be forwarded to the WCRA Disqualification Officer within four days of the meeting at which the disqualification took place. Failure to do so, without reasonable excuse, will result in the club being fined three times the entry fee of the first dog for the WCRA Championships. If the whippet is not cleared, or does not undertake the ‘one trial on the day’ option, for whatever reason, then rule 4.31.1 applies.
Disqualified and Not Cleared on the Day.
4.31.1 The owner of the whippet that is disqualified and not cleared on the day, shall be provided with a ‘disqualification form’ by the racing manager or secretary of the disqualifying club on the day of disqualification, with Part 1 completed as appropriate (see 4.31.3). When cleared, the racing manager of the WCRA affiliated club at which the clearing trials take place should complete details of the clearance trials in Part 2. This form, or duplicate, must be forwarded to the club at which the whippet offended and to the WCRA Disqualification Officer. It is the responsibility of the owner of the disqualified whippet to ensure that the necessary clearance paperwork is recorded with the WCRA Disqualification Officer, to enable the whippet to compete at future Open race meetings where WCRA passports are a requirement of entry.
4.31.2 A first offence-disqualified whippet that is not cleared on the day of disqualification shall be suspended for seven days – (the day of disqualification is day one of suspension – therefore a whippet who is disqualified on a Sunday must wait seven days until it can re-trial). The disqualified whippet must take part in a minimum of TWO acceptable consecutive clearance trials at a WCRA affiliated club before it may compete again. All clearing trials should contain ideally three other whippets, one of whom is able to pass the offending whippet and the offending whippet to pass another dog cleanly. If the disqualification took place on a straight then the whippet must re-clear on a straight.
If the disqualification took place on a curve or a bend then the whippet must re-clear on a curve or a bend. The exception being that if the owner agrees that the whippet will now only run on a straight track, then the clearing trials can be under taken on a straight track. In this case the ‘clearance for bend racing endorsement’ in the whippet’s passport will be cancelled by the Registrar.
4.31.3 The racing manager or club secretary should complete Part 1 (see 4.31.1) of the disqualification form (as appropriate), the copy sent to the WCRA Disqualification Officer must also contain a brief summary of the incident on the reverse of the form, including names of the other dogs, trap placements and handicaps.
4.31.4 The racing manager or secretary of any racing club affiliated to the WCRA, who disqualifies any whippet(s) at any Open race meeting held by them, where WCRA passports are required as a condition of entry, must inform the WCRA Disqualification Officer within four days of the meeting at which the disqualification took place. Failure to do so, without reasonable excuse, will result in the club being fined three times the entry fee of the first dog for the WCRA championships. The WCRA Disqualification Officer will record all disqualifications and ‘one trial on the day’ occurrences submitted to him/her in the Disqualification Record Book and will keep the book in his/her possession, with the only general access to it being the sole prerogative of the Racing Manager of the WCRA.
4.31.5 Within two days prior to an Open race meeting where WCRA passports are a condition of entry, the WCRA Disqualification Officer will inform the secretary of the club of all whippets whose passports are suspended due to their gaining an entry in the Disqualifications Record Book. These whippets will be refused entry to the meeting. The Disqualification Officer will also inform the club secretary of those whippets who are eligible to run but who do not qualify for the ‘one trial on the day’ option. This is to include whippets pre-entered at the Open race meeting before they committed the offence. It is the responsibility of the club secretary and racing manager holding any Open race meeting where valid WCRA passports are a condition of entry, to ensure that all whippets have a valid passport and are cleared to compete.
4.31.6 Clearance trials for disqualifications and passport signings are only to be carried out by a WCRA affiliated club at a race meeting run by their officials and under their rules.
4.31.7 The WCRA Disqualification Officer must advise the WCRA Committee of any whippet who obtains further disqualifications.. The whippet will be disqualified until the Monday after the next scheduled WCRA Championship. The WCRA Committee reserves the right to withhold reinstatement to any whippet that is, or has shown itself to be, a confirmed fighter.
4.31.8 The Disqualification Officer will record an on going total of the number of disqualifications held for each whippet.
At the third disqualification and for each subsequent disqualification, the offending whippet will incur an automatic ban from any/all Open and Championship events that require a WCRA Passport as a condition of entry, for a period of one year, from the date of the third disqualification. For example, a whippet disqualified on 4th June 2006 may not commence Clearance Trials until 5th June 2007. This rule does not prevent the offending whippet from racing at Club(s) where valid WCRA Passports are not a condition of entry to race. On receipt of confirmation of disqualification from the affiliated club or WCRA (as appropriate) the Disqualification Officer will advise the owner in writing of the number of disqualifications the dog now holds and the date from which Clearance Trials can be commenced.
Clearance Trials are to be run in accordance with rule 4.31.2.
In order to enable the whippet to compete at future Open and Championship race meetings, where WCRA passports are a requirement of entry, the Disqualifications Officer must be in receipt of the necessary clearance paperwork. It is the responsibility of the owner of the re-cleared whippet to ensure the necessary clearance paperwork is recorded with the WCRA Disqualification Officer. Any dog disqualified for a third or subsequent time will not be eligible for retrial on the day as the immediate one year disqualification takes precedence over the ‘Trial on the Day’ option.
The WCRA Disqualification Officer is required to advise the WCRA Committee of any whippet who obtains third disqualifications and of any subsequent disqualification thereafter. The WCRA Committee reserves the right to take further action, if it is felt appropriate.
The Disqualification Officer will advise the owner of the disqualified whippet in writing should any further action be taken.
4.32 Ragging, which is defined as encouragement; either verbally or by other audible signal, or visual signal to a whippet during a race from within the perimeter barrier is forbidden and shall result in automatic disqualification.
4.33 A race may be declared void at the discretion of the Racing Manager in the event of:
- A mechanical failure of the lure.
- The lure is caught before the finish line.
- The lure is not kept within a reasonable distance of the leading whippet.
- A mechanical failure of the traps.
In the case of a void race the race may be re-run. At the Racing Managers discretion any whippet that did not complete the distance may be required to run to allow all to have raced similar distances when going into the re-run race.
4.34 Any runner finishing the race with an incorrect racing jacket will be placed last and unable to participate in further competition that day.
4.35 Three judges shall decide the result of races with a majority decision being acceptable. The decision of the Judges shall be final. In the event that a Track Steward indicated an objection, no result shall be declared until the Racing Manager has consulted the officials and given his/her decision.
4.36 If a photo-finish camera is available to the Judges, which has recorded the order of the whippets finishing the race, a
replay will only be available to the Judges. Owners or others are not permitted to view any official photographic recording of the races.
4.37 The Judges will ensure that the correct order of finish is relayed to the owners present.
4.38 Whenever possible all races shall be timed by an acceptable means and the times recorded. The recorded times shall be retained by the Secretary with the completed marked programme.
4.39 Owners shall be responsible for ensuring that their whippets are collected immediately at the end of a race.
4.40 At WCRA Championship race meetings the Secretary will ensure that the results page of the passport is completed and signed for all whippets reaching a final, prior to the passport being returned to the owner.
4.41 One copy of a completed race programme, showing all results and times of winners shall be held by the Secretary for
record purposes. A further marked up copy shall be forwarded to the Superstars Officer within fourteen days of the meeting.
4.42 Any serious breach of conduct at any race meeting where WCRA passports are required for entry must be reported immediately to the Racing Manager. He may convene an emergency committee meeting comprising all committee members present, who by majority vote have the right to conduct a preliminary investigation and have the right to require any person they consider to be guilty of serious breach of conduct to leave the premises. The committee reserves the right to subsequently implement WCRA Rule 2.9.
4.43 Directional Seeding
When a whippet has a habitual tendency when leaving the traps to veer to either the right or left within their first six strides, the owner can seek Directional Seeding for the whippet. The Committee of the WCRA considers this to be safety issue and will only grant Directional Seeding to a whippet for this reason. Habitual wide runners on bends or curve tracks will not be granted Directional Seeding.
4.43.1 A ‘Proposal Form for Direction Seeding’ can be requested form the Secretary of the WCRA. This four-section form requires the owner to complete Section A and to obtain the completion of Section B by their affiliated club’s Racing Manager. On completion of the first two Sections, the form must be sent to the Secretary of the WCRA accompanied by the Whippet’s passport, so that the WCRA Committee can discuss the proposal. If the WCRA Committee accepts the proposal, Section C of the form will be completed and passed to the WCRA Registrar. The Whippet will then be granted directional seeding for all WCRA Championships and Scratch Opens were Seeding is on offer and a directional seeding endorsement will be noted in the whippet’s passport and it will be returned to the owner.
4.43.2 The WCRA Committee may not immediately accept the request. However, it may be granted subject to the results of two Authorisation Trials, and then Section D of the form will be completed. In this case two members of the WCRA Committee must be present to observe the Authorisation Trials and sign Section D of the form if the criteria for directional seeding in their opinion are met.
The owner of the Whippet should then send the whippet’s passport along with the completed Proposal Form for Directional Seeding to the WCRA’s Registrar. The Registrar will endorse the Whippet’s Passport that Directional Seeding has been granted and return the passport to the owner.
4.43.3 It is then the Owner’s responsibility to ensure that any granted Directional Seeding to their whippet is clearly marked on any Entry Form when the whippet is entered for a WCRA Championship or Scratch Open were directional seeding is offered. Directional seeding indicators will be shown on the race programme where possible.
4.43.4 All granted Directional Seeding of whippets will be reviewed and discussed by the WCRA Committee, any seeding granted may be withdrawn if it is felt that the criteria for issuing the seeding is no longer being met and the endorsement in the Whippet’s passport cancelled.
4.44 Owners are responsible for clearing up after their dogs, no mess or litter should be left in the vicinity of the track or grounds used for racing or in the car parking area.
Amended March 2012