Cirrus Des Aigles and Christophe Soumillon win the QIPCO Champion Stakes

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced amendments to its new rules regarding whip use which have been the subject of heated debate since their introduction on Monday, October 10.

A statement issued by the BHA on Friday read: “The Board emphasises that it must be the role of the Regulator, not the sport’s participants, to set and enforce the Rules. Regulation cannot be a negotiation, but must involve due consultation.”

However, following representation from the Professional Jockeys’ Association (PJA) on Monday, the BHA has introduced the following amendments:

  • Removal of the numerical limits in place on the use of the whip in the final stages of races (the last furlong of a Flat race and after the last obstacle in a Jumps race). It should be noted in this context that numerical limits on the use of the whip in the final stages of races were in place prior to the new Rules being introduced, including in the final furlong. Numerical limits relating to the number of times that the whip can be used in total throughout a race will remain in place (up to seven times in a Flat race and eight times in a Jumps race). Again, the Board emphasises that these numbers must be viewed as upper limits and not a target number for jockeys in races.
  • Jockeys’ riding fees will no longer be included in the penalties for whip offences.
  • The number of days’ suspension for whip Rule breaches before the jockey’s prize money percentage will be forfeited is to be increased from 3 to 7 days. The effect of this is that where a jockey has used the whip one more time than is allowed under the Rules, the jockey’s prize money percentage will no longer be forfeited, but a suspension will continue to apply.
  • Amending the penalty advice where a rider is referred to the Disciplinary Panel having incurred a fourth suspension of five days or more within the previous 12 months. This advice will be changed to a suspension within the range of two months to six months and an entry point of three months.

The changes took immediate effect on Friday and jockeys who had been penalised within the last 11 days for breaches under the initial changes have had fines and suspensions rescinded. These  include Christophe Soumillon, who had been banned for five days and had his percentage of prize-money withheld following his winning ride on Cirrus Des Aigles in last Saturday’s Champion Stakes.

Richard Hughes, who had handed in his licence at protest at the new measures and did not appear on British Champions’ Day, resumed race riding on Friday, winning Newbury’s opener aboard Usain Colt for his boss Richard Hannon.