BHA offers olive branch to jockeys over new whipping rules

Punctuation ridden by jockey Paddy Brennan en route to winning the Catesby Estates Handicap Hurdle – David Davies/PA Wire

The British Horseracing Authority appears set to abide by its new whipping rules, in particular one limiting its use behind the saddle in the backhand position only, in light of jockeys’ “public and private representations”.

However, he still plans to move forward with a soft launch of the new rules on January 9 before their full introduction on February 8, just a month before the Cheltenham Festival.

Last week, 30 prominent jump jockeys signed a letter written by former champion Harry Skelton to BHA Regulatory Director Brant Dunshea.

He pointed out that one of their main concerns about the changes, now that the practicalities of banning what, in most cases, has been a career-long practice of using the forehand whip , would lead to multiple suspensions, consecutive negative publicity and, worst-case scenario, even a shortage of jockeys.

Allowing practice to continue would certainly seem to solve the jockeys’ main problem with the new rules.

But while the BHA is prepared to negotiate with jockeys, it is keen that the new rules still achieve their main objective, “more thoughtful and judicious use of the whip for encouragement and better perception of the use of the whip.” “, so where they might soften the rule in one area, he will want to balance it in another.

A BHA spokesperson said: “The BHA has always understood the challenges involved in any review of the use of whipping in horse racing. From the moment we launched the consultation in July 2021, we have constantly engaged with all interested parties, in particular jockeys and their representatives, to ensure that we listen to the views of those most affected.

“It is because of this willingness to engage that we have agreed to extend the initial deadlines for implementing the new rules beyond fall 2022. Over the past few days, however, further steps were made to the BHA, including some topics that were not raised. as part of the initial consultation or technical discussions.

“In light of this latest information, the BHA and the Chair of the Whips Advisory Steering Group have agreed to continue the dialogue to explore options that address the concerns raised.”

The spokesperson added: “It is true that these discussions are taking place away from the glare of publicity, but we are looking to provide an update as soon as possible in light of the existing deadlines for the soft launch on January 9. .”

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