I’m absolutely gutted” – Lorcan Williams to miss Cheltenham after receiving an 18-day ban.
Due to excessive whip use at Haydock on Saturday, Lorcan Williams received an 18-day suspension and will miss the Cheltenham Festival.
In Saturday’s Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock, where his mount Makinyourmindup narrowly edged out Collectors Item by a short head, Williams, 23, said on Monday that he feared he would receive a 14-day suspension for overusing the whip.
Despite requests from jockeys and trainers to postpone their implementation until after the major spring festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree, the new whip rules over jumps went into effect on February 13 after a bedding-in period.
Williams, whose ban begins on March 7, said: “I’m absolutely gutted, but it is what it is and I’ll take it on the chin. Hopefully I’ll learn from it but it has been a hard transition for us all.
“It’s a tough one to take and it’s hard to keep those emotions away when I was in that tight of a finish at Haydock, especially with these new rules we’re having to adapt to.”
The rules tightened restrictions on whip use above shoulder height and decreased the number of strikes allowed over jumps from eight to seven.
Williams claimed that he used the whip twice over the maximum seven count, but the new rules impose a harsher penalty and double any ban in Class 1 and Class 2 races.
Breakages are referred to the whip review committee, which was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, instead of being issued whip bans on the spot.
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