Jump jockeys will be required to carry whips covered with shock absorbing material from 1 October this year to prevent the likelihood of horses being wealed and to improve the public image of racing.
According to current rules, a National Hunt whip must have a maximum length of 68 centimetres, with a minimum diameter of 1 cm. A flap at the end of the whip may not be longer than 10 cm with a width of 2-4 cm. The flap may not contain any reinforcements or additions.
Under the new regulations, there shall be no binding within 23 cm of the end of the flap, while the shaft and flap must be covered by shock absorbing material. The total weight of the whip will not exceed 160 grams.
Each whip will have to have been approved by a panel of representatives from the Jockey Club, the Jockeys’ Association and the National Equine Welfare Council.
Dr Peter Webbon, the Jockey Club’s Veterinary Director, said: “Using modern materials and manufacturing techniques, a whip design has been produced which is effective, but very unlikely to cause injury to horses.
“The model is already in regular use by several jockeys, including Tony Dobbin, Mick Fitzgerald and Norman Williamson, who have all provided valuable feedback to the manufacturer.
“I believe the revised instruction and the establishment of the panel represent a potential breakthrough for British racing with regards to nullifying criticism about use of the whip.”