Britain’s new whip rules to take effect one month before Cheltenham Festival | Horse Racing News

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Whip rule changes formally come into force in February, the BHA announced on Tuesday

Whip rule changes formally come into force in February, the BHA announced on Tuesday

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By Chris Cook, Senior reporter

British racing’s new whip rules are to be introduced from February 6, just over a month before the Cheltenham Festival. The BHA revealed its timetable on Tuesday morning for putting in place the new rules it was announced in mid-July, limiting whip use to the backhand position and allowing disqualification for the most serious breaches.

Racing’s ruling body has now clarified that such disqualifications will not be applied on race day, meaning they will have no effect for betting purposes. Instead, such decisions will be made in the days following a race by the newly created whip review committee.

The BHA has also decided to allow riders in Flat racing to use the longer version of the whip currently used by jump jockeys. This is to address concerns raised by some Flat jockeys that restricting them to backhand use would increase the risk of the whip landing in the wrong place on a horse, falling short of the hindquarters.

There will be staggered implementation for racing’s two codes, with a four-week bedding-in period beginning in jump racing from January 9, during which jockeys will be asked to ride within the new rules but will not be subjected to the new penalty framework.

Flat racing’s bedding-in period will begin from February 27, to recognize that many of Britain’s Flat jockeys ride abroad during the first two months of the year. Full implementation will then take place on March 27, five days before Doncaster’s Lincoln Handicap, the first major race of the turf season.

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Full implementation on the Flat will take place on March 27, five days before the Lincoln

Full implementation on the Flat will take place on March 27, five days before the Lincoln

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said: “We are extremely grateful for the engagement and feedback we have received through the period of technical discussions. The discussions were full and frank, hence the time they have/ taken to conclude.

“The discussions quickly established that there was overall support for the vast majority of the recommendations. However, as expected there were some areas of concern raised. We have listened to the feedback we received and made adjustments to the initial proposals accordingly.

“We recognize that some of the new rules are going to take some time to get used to for some jockeys, which is why we have factored in time for communication and education as well as a bedding-in period before the rules and penalties are implemented in full.”

David Jones, BHA board member and chair of the whip consultation steering group, said: “While the initial proposals were made following an extensive consultation process, it was important that further, detailed discussions take place with those most affected by the proposals.

“I am pleased, therefore, that sensible adjustments have been made where necessary, while the overall package of measures has been approved and will now go forward to implementation.

“This whole process, from start to finish, has always been about listening to the views of all our audiences and making decisions which best preserve the perception of our sport and the welfare of our horses, while also recognizing the role that the padded whip plays in safe and fair race-riding.”


Whip rules: the five core recommendations

  • Use of the whip for encouragement to be limited to the backhand position only
  • Threshold for acceptable use of the whip to remain at seven in a Flat race and eight in a jumps race
  • Development of a whip review committee responsible for evaluation of all rides and any necessary sanction or action, to increase consistency and drive ongoing improvement in riding standards
  • Increased penalties for offenses, including doubled suspensions in major races
  • Disqualification introduced for offenses in which the whip has been used four times or more above the permitted level in all races

When will it happen?

  • Jumps bedding-in period: January 9 to February 5
  • Jumps full implementation: February 6
  • Flat bedding-in period: February 27 to March 26
  • Flat full implementation: March 27

Read this next:

Backhand use only and disqualification to be introduced in new whip rules


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FIRST PUBLISHED 11:12AM, NOV 22 2022

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