New rule for use of tongue tie

A horse with the tongue tie on

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) has decided to change the rule regarding the use of the tongue tie on horses officially declared to race.

At present, when the tongue tie is declared for use on a horse, and the tongue tie becomes loose, especially when the horse is at the starting gate, approval has to be sought from the trainer for that horse to race.

As of April 1, according to the new rule gazetted by the JRC, a trainer will now as a condition of the nomination process indicate in writing whether or not they want the horse to run without the tongue tie if it becomes loose and cannot be refitted.

The new rule is reproduced in full below:

  1. RULE 113 (9) (c) (iii): “Where a horse has been declared to run in a tongue-tie/ tongue strap it shall be fitted prior to entering the Parade Ring and shall be worn on the way to the start and during the race. If the tongue-tie/ tongue-strap comes loose before the start of the race and cannot be refitted the horse shall not run, if the trainer has, as a condition of entry, declared that the horse shall not run in the event that the tongue-tie/tongue strap becomes loose after the horse has entered the racetrack. Otherwise for the purpose of this Rule the horse shall run. If the tongue-tie becomes loose during the race this shall not disqualify the horse.”    


There seems to be general approval of this change in the tongue tie rule by the JRC.

Before this rule change, it had become the norm to hear on the public address system at the track, calls being made for trainers to report to the stewards when the tongue tie on a horse becomes loose. These calls by the stewards are usually to seek permission from trainers for their charges to run without the tongue tie.

Now, by trainers indicating on the nomination paper that approval is granted or not makes the process easier and will reduce the waiting time for races to start without any undue delay.

However, there is another school of thought that once the tongue tie is declared for use on a horse and it becomes loose, that horse should automatically be declared a late non-starter.

Advocates of this position, say, punters, who are the mainstay of racing, are better protected, when horses with loose tongue ties do not start.