• Horse Racing

Walsh slams BHA over whip controversy

ESPN staff
February 21, 2012
Ruby Walsh has taken issue with the BHA over the whip debate © PA Photos

Ruby Walsh has turned up the heat on the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), accusing the governing body of making a "balls" of the whip rule changes.

An overhaul of the use of the whip was announced last year and it caused huge controversy. Leading Flat rider Richard Hughes tossed in his licence for a time in frustration at the changes.

The BHA has tinkered with the rule and new chief executive Paul Bitter has spoke of a desire to find a solution in the near future.

The Cheltenham Festival is three weeks away and the whip debate is back in the headlines following the controversial suspension handed down to champion jockey Tony McCoy last week.

Walsh has fallen foul of the rules this season and he claims that making it black and white has caused major problems, as he feels there are now instances where it can allow horses to be abused within the rules.

"I think it will overshadow the meeting,'' Walsh told the Irish Examiner about the prospect of the whip controversy causing problems at Cheltenham. "They've made a balls of the rule, they've tried to make something that's grey black and white. You just can't talk to a horse and ask it to run faster. Horses are animals and animals can't be treated as humans. Race horses are a specific breed to do a specific job. They're not pets.

"We need the whip to ride them to encourage them to go faster. The BHA put a number on it but by putting a number on it they've made an ass of the rule because 12 times can be enough or two times can be enough.

"There's times you should never use the whip and by putting a number on it the BHA have allowed you to use your whip eight times on every horse so actually they're encouraging the use. They should have left it grey.

"England was a great racing nation that everybody aped for years. Now they've become the apes. They've made a mockery of themselves."

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