Following a six-month review of the whip rules, penalty structure and process, additional adjustments have been implemented by the British Horseracing Authority.
The review formed part of the ongoing dialogue and meetings between the BHA, Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and a group of senior jockeys which has been in place since prior to the introduction of the new rules and which has resulted in a number of previous alterations.
Regulations concerning whip use underwent significant changes earlier this year, with the numbers of strikes allowed in Flat and jumps races reduced to six and seven respectively, with a tougher penalty structure for those in breach, including doubled suspensions for major races and disqualification in the most serious of cases.
Among the most recent changes, a single strike over the permitted level by a Flat rider may see the minimum penalty of four days reduced to three days if they have had 100 or more British rides since a previous offence, or two days if they have had 200 or more rides.
Races which incur a double penalty have also been revised and will now apply to all class one races and any class two contest with total prize money of £150,000 or more, or any class two race restricted to apprentices, conditionals or amateur jockeys only.
Additionally, four offences of use above the permitted level in a six-month period will now result in a referral under the 'totting up' procedure, while the top end of the penalty range had been reduced from six months to four. It will remain the case that a rider will be referred to the BHA's judicial panel if they commit five offences of any type in a six-month period.
Sam Angell, chair of the Whip Review Committee, said, “These changes reflect an ongoing process to improve the new whip rules and penalties, while retaining the original objectives, which are to ensure more judicious use of the whip for encouragement, improve the perceptions of whip use and ensure that the outcomes of races are fair.”
Data released by the BHA shows that in the last six months in a total of 37,428 rides, 425 cases were referred to the WRC with 360 breaches–equating to less than one per cent of rides.
For a complete outline of the most recent changes to whip rules, click here.