Amends to strict new whip rules in racing

  • After threats of strike action by riders and Richard Hughes temporarily handing in his jockey’s licence, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has amended its new whip rules.

    The decision was announced on Friday (21 October), just 11 days after the rules were introduced.

    Jockeys will no longer lose their riding fee and will only forfeit their prize-money percentage if they receive a ban of seven days or more -previously it had been just three days (news, 20 October).

    “If a jockey has used the whip just one more time than allowed his prize-money percentage will remain – but he will be suspended,” said a spokesman for the BHA.

    The rule limiting jockeys to five hits in the final furlong will be discarded but the limit of seven strikes per Flat race and eight in a jumps race remains.

    But the board “emphasised that these numbers must be viewed as upper limits and not a target number for jockeys”.

    These changes mean Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon – who lost out on £50,000 after striking Cirrus Des Aigles six times in the final furlong at Ascot on 15 October – will now receive his winnings.

    “As with all of the Authority’s work, these adjustments will be subject to constant monitoring” said a spokesman.

    He added that those who had already fallen foul of the rules would have their prize-money and riding fee returned where deemed appropriate.

    Kevin Darley from the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) said his members still had some “serious concerns”.

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