No more warnings for excessive whip use
Stiffer penalties will be imposed on British jockeys for excessive use of the whip after current rules were found to be a weak deterrent.
The British Horseracing Authority disclosed the findings of a 10-month review Tuesday that will result in a five-day minimum suspension for jockeys not adhering to whip limits.
The previous minimum penalty was a caution. Now, jockeys who are banned three days or more will forfeit their riding fee and prize-money percentage. The new rules take effect 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 thoroughbred jockeys. ''These new rules are easy to understand, which will help all jockeys ride within them.''
The whip can now be used a maximum of seven times in a thoroughbred 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 number of times a whip could be used previously.
Penalties will increase for those who break the rules more than once. Punishment for a second offense will be twice as harsh as the first.
''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 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.''