Suspended Jockey Protests New Whip Rules in Britain

Richard Hughes, an Irish jockey who was suspended twice--once on Oct. 10 and once on Oct. 13--for violating the British Horseracing Authority's stricter whip rules, says he will not race again unless the new regulations are changed, according to a report from BloodHorse.com.

Under revised BHA rules, jockeys found to have used the whip excessively will face a minimum suspension of five days; the previous minimum penalty was a caution, but the BHA found that was not an effective deterrent for whip overuse.

In late September, the BHA published the report, Responsible Regulation: A Review of the Use of the Whip in Horseracing, after concluding its detailed review into the use of the whip in horse racing, which first commenced in November 2010. The Review will led to significant tightening of the rules and penalties relating to the use of the whip by jockeys, as well as a renewed focus on jockey training, to ensure that the best equine welfare standards are maintained throughout the sport, the authority said in a press release.

The whip can now only be used a maximum of seven times in a Thoroughbred flat race and eight times in a jump race, including only five times in the last furlong or after the last obstacle. It is about half the number of times a whip could be used previously. A jockey that incurs a whip ban of three days or more will forfeit his riding fee and purse percentage.

Hughes first, 15-day suspension came on the first day the new rules were implemented (Oct. 10) during a ride on the horse Swift Blade, and the second, 10-day suspension came aboard the horse More Than Words.

According to the BloodHorse.com report, Hughes turned in his racing license after the second ban in protest of the new regulations. He claimed that jockeys were not consulted prior to the implementation of the new regulations and that the riders are finding it difficult to "abide" by the rules, the report said.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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