Twenty jockeys were banned for violating new whip regulations.
One of the 20 offences dealt with by the BHA’s new whip referral committee following the first operational week of the new rules, Charlotte Jones became the first jockey to have her mount disqualified for excessive whip use.
On February 14, Lunar Discovery placed second in the mares’ bumper at Ayr. However, Jones was found to have used the whip 11 times, which was four times more than the allowed amount and resulted in an automatic disqualification and a 14-day ban.
The Racing Post reported on Monday that Lorcan Williams, Luke Scott, and Cameron Iles—both of whom won on Makinyourmindup at Haydock on Saturday—will miss the Cheltenham Festival after receiving an 18-day suspension. Kevin Brogan will be absent from the festival on its first day.
Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, said: “Jockeys have had more than four weeks to adapt to the new rules through the bedding-in period. As the jockeys themselves have stated, it is now up to them to ensure that they ride within the new rules.
“Disqualification has been introduced as the ultimate deterrent for overuse of the whip. There is simply no excuse for using the whip four or more times above the permitted level. It was always likely that the disqualification rule would need to be invoked in the early stages of the implementation of the new rules. We hope that this sends a clear message to all jockeys and reinforces this deterrent effect.”
The most well-known race with whip violations was the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle. Williams was banned for 18 days for riding Makinyourmindup, the winner, and Brogan was banned for eight days for riding Collectors Item, the runner-up, who lost by a short head.
Luke Scott also suffered as a result of the new rule, which doubles bans in Class 1 and 2 races. His ride on Progressive in a Class 2 handicap hurdle at Wetherby on February 15 resulted in a 14-day suspension.
On the case of Williams, Dunshea added: “The whip has been used not only above the permitted level, but also from above shoulder height on multiple occasions. This is a breach of the rules in most racing jurisdictions.
“Lorcan was advised on numerous occasions throughout the bedding in period of rides that would amount to a breach of the new Rules should he continued to ride in the same manner. The review committee have included a mandatory session with the British Racing School as part of his penalty. This is part of the purpose of the committee, to bring about improvements in riding standards.”
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