Tougher whipping sanctions for jockeys in Britain

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Tougher whipping sanctions for jockeys in Britain

Stiffer penalties will be imposed on British jockeys for excessive use of the whip after the current rules were found to be an ineffective deterrent.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 27 Sep 2011, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:44 AM

The British Horseracing Authority unveiled the results of a 10-month review on Tuesday that will see jockeys receive a five-day minimum suspension for not adhering to limits on the frequency of whip use.

Whereas the previous minimum penalty was a caution, now jockeys who incur a ban of three days — for other whip offences, including excessive force — or more will forfeit their riding fee and prize-money percentage. The new rules will come into effect from Oct. 10.

Use of the whip came under scrutiny after Jason Maguire struck Ballabriggs 17 times while winning the British Grand National in April, leading to a five-day suspension.

Frankie Dettori was also banned for nine days after he hit Rewilding 24 times inside the final two furlongs of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“I am not proud of having fallen foul of the whip rules in the past but I have never harmed a horse,” said Dettori, one of Britain’s top jockeys in flat racing. “These new rules are easy to understand which will help all jockeys ride within them.”

The whip can now only be used a maximum of seven times in a flat race, and eight times in a jump race, including only five times in the last furlong or after the last obstacle. This is roughly half the amount of times a whip could be used previously.

Penalties will increase for those who breach the rules on more than one occasion, and punishment for a second offense will be double that of a first offense.

“Jockeys are pleased the Authority has recognized the whip is an important tool of the trade and that these changes will ultimately help protect the integrity of the sport,” said Kevin Darley, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association.

The BHA review was compiled with input from animal welfare bodies, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“We will be monitoring their implementation to see if they have made a real difference to horse welfare,” RSPCA equine consultant David Muir said. “We hope these changes will mean that the few jockeys who have misused the whip will think twice in future.”

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