Jockeys face tougher whip penalties in British Horseracing Authority crackdown

POSTED ON  |  29-12-2018

Controversial stronger deterrents to jockeys breaching the whip rules in British racing are on the horizon, the BBC has learned. Tougher penalties in big races are likely to be introduced to improve horse racing's public image over welfare.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, has told BBC Sport that "a new structure for penalties and deterrents for overuse of the whip" will be announced in January 2019. He added that there were "no firm timelines" for changes, but it is understood senior figures in racing are preparing for a possible ban on the use of the whip within three years.

Asked whether penalties for rule breaches could become harsher, Rust replied: "Yes. I think sometimes in the very top races when there's so much at stake. The current penalty structure works well in the majority of races but perhaps not in the top races." It is thought that January will mark the start of the process of introducing a new penalty structure.

However, any proposal to introduce tougher penalties is "fundamentally flawed", according to the chief executive of the Professional Jockeys' Association (PJA).
  • "As to the wider issue, banning the whip won't make a blind bit of difference to welfare but we can all see the direction of travel," PJA boss Paul Struthers told the BBC.
Racing insiders point to research that shows modern air-cushioned whips do not hurt horses, but concede there is a perception issue over their use. The latest whip development comes after a separate review into the deaths of horses at jump racing's Cheltenham Festival warned that welfare issues threatened the future of the whole sport if not addressed.

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