Horse Racing Consultation: Interference Rules Adjudication

The AGCO is assessing the two existing in-race interference adjudication approaches that are currently used in racing jurisdictions around the world. This assessment includes a consultation process to seek input from Ontario’s horse racing industry and related stakeholders in all three breeds (Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse), as well from the public.

The input provided to the AGCO on the different interference classification systems used globally, and any implications if Ontario were to change its regulatory approach to interference, will help to inform future changes to interference adjudication in Ontario.


Consultation Next Steps

The written consultation period closed on January 20, 2020. Thank you to those who participated.

In the coming months, the AGCO will hold a limited number of in-person or teleconference meetings with interested stakeholders to discuss the feedback and comments received.

The AGCO intends to release a findings report, which anonymously aggregates the feedback received during the consultation.

If you have any questions or comments about the consultation, please send them to


Overview of the consultation topic

There are currently two different approaches to adjudicating interference used in racing jurisdictions around the world: Category 1 and Category 2.

Category 1

Category 1 states that Judges and Stewards may disqualify a horse only if it improved its finishing position because of that interference, or in cases of dangerous riding.

Category 2

The Category 2 approach provides Judges and Stewards with the authority to disqualify a horse if, in their opinion, it interfered with another horse regardless of whether the interference was accidental, willful, or the result of careless riding.

In Thoroughbred racing, Category 2 is used exclusively in North America, and Category 1 is used in every other jurisdiction. Several countries have switched from Category 2 to Category 1 in the last decade, including France and Germany who most recently switched in 2018. 

In Standardbred racing, several jurisdictions have indicated that they are exploring switching from Category 2 to Category 1, but the majority remain as Category 2, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand who are Category 1.

Quarter Horse racing is predominantly conducted in North America and follows the Category 2 approach.  To our knowledge, a switch to Category 1 has not been discussed in Quarter Horse racing.