The British Horseracing Authority is set to consider submissions from the Professional Jockeys Association in the wake of the new whip regulations introduced this week.
Senior jockey Richard Hughes has been among a number of vociferous critics and has pledged to relinquish his licence until there is a review of the rules after picking up two bans in a week.
Stringent new guidelines mean the whip can only be used a maximum of seven times in a Flat race, and eight times in a jumps race (and only five times in the last furlong (200m)/after the last obstacle). This is roughly half the amount of times a whip could be used previously before a rider was found in breach of the rules of racing.
Increased entry-point penalties are being implemented, with a five-day minimum suspension for not adhering to the frequency limits. The previous minimum penalty was a caution.
A jockey who incurs a whip ban of three days or more forfeit his/her riding fee and prize-money percentage.
BHA chairman Paul Roy is awaiting PJA submissions before instigating a further review but insists the rule changes are still the correct course of action.
“We were greatly encouraged by the immediate, predominantly positive response from jockeys, trainers and other stakeholders, following publication of our Review of the use of the whip in horseracing, on September 27,” Roy said in a statement.
“We have also been pleased with the way the new rules have been adhered to by the vast majority of jockeys since their implementation on Monday this week.
“We remain clear and confident in the Review and its findings, and are encouraged that the PJA is generally supportive of the principles behind the new rules and the need for compliance with them.
“However, they have raised certain concerns, particularly in relation to the penalty structure, and we expect to receive further formal written submissions from them shortly.”
Hughes said he could not continue to ride until there was a revision of the rules.
“I’ve handed my licence in until further notice,” he told Racing UK.
“I’ve been trying to obey the rules this week and when the rules came in we all thought seven was a fair number, but then they set a trap by saying you could only hit them five in the last furlong.
“The new rules mean you actually hit them more, as you have to get two into them before the furlong pole and then you have five for the final furlong. I was always told as a young lad the last jockey to go for stick usually wins. I don’t think I can do my owners justice any more.
“Until the rules are resolved I won’t be riding. I’d rather retire. I can’t ride horses like this. It’s like telling Lionel Messi he can’t use his left foot.”
PA AAP TURF