Jockeys face stiff penalty for excessive use of whip
London: British horse racing authorities announced harsher penalties for jockeys who overuse the whip in races, including the loss of riding fees and prize money.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) ruled, however, that the use of the whip, providing strict controls are enforced, "remains appropriate and necessary for the safety of both jockeys and horses."
A review group made 19 recommendations, all of which were approved by the BHA board.
The BHA, who began a review of the rules last year, said in a statement that current guidelines and penalties were not an effective enough control and deterrent.
The new limits restrict jockeys to seven uses of the whip in flat racing and eight in jump racing, and only five times in the last furlong or after the last obstacle.
"This is roughly half the amount of times a whip could be used previously before being in breach of the Rules," the BHA said.
There will be a five day minimum suspension for not adhering to the frequency limits, compared to the previous caution.
"A jockey who incurs a whip suspension of three days or more will forfeit his riding fee and percentage," the BHA added.
Those who breach the rules on more than one occasion will also face increased penalties.
The Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) commended the BHA for introducing revised rules.
"Jockeys are pleased that the Authority has recognised that the whip is an important tool of the trade and that these changes will ultimately help protect the integrity of the sport," PJA chief Kevin Darley said.
"While there are always differences of opinion, the PJA is advising its members to endorse the changes and react positively to them."
Leading flat jockey Frankie Dettori and champion jumps jockey Tony McCoy also welcomed the changes.
"I am not proud of having fallen foul of the whip rules in the past but I have never harmed a horse. These new rules are easy to understand which will help all jockeys ride within them," Dettori said.