• Horse Racing

BHA relaxes whip rule directive

ESPN staff
October 21, 2011
The new whip rule has caused a storm over the future of racing © PA Photos

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed several amendments to the controversial new whip rule, following meetings over the past week with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).

The key change sees jockeys given greater freedom over when they are allowed to apply use of the whip. Previously, the new rule had dictated that a maximum five of the legitimate seven strikes in a Flat race (eight in National Hunt events) could be administered inside the last furlong (or following the final obstacle in jumps events).

Now, jockeys will still be limited to seven (or eight) strikes, but they can be used at any time in the race.

The BHA also announced adjustments to penalties relating to the regulation. Jockeys' fees will no longer act as part of punishments dished out for whip offences, and they will also only lose their percentage of prize money if their offence earns a ban of seven days or more, rather than the three days the rules originally stated.

Furthermore, currently suspended jockeys - who were punished before the revised rules - will have their penalties reviewed retrospectively.

A BHA statement read: "The board is committed to the highest standards of regulation in the sport, and ensuring that British Horseracing continues to lead the way in matters of equine welfare.

"This is a sport not without its challenges, but they will always be outweighed by the sport's strengths. These challenges will best be met - and are being met - by finding a common purpose amongst the sport's participants, and by putting the sport first."

Richard Hughes, who quit the sport due to the new regulation, has now confirmed he will return to the saddle.

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