Adjustments to new whip rules

30 Mar 2023 BHA Features

As part of the ongoing roll out of the new whip rules the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has engaged in ongoing communication with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and senior jockeys from both codes.

As a result of this constructive dialogue and the BHA’s monitoring of bedding-in period and implementation, a selection of small adjustments have been introduced to the rules and processes involved, as below.

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said:

“We are very grateful to the PJA and to our jockeys, both for the manner in which they continue to adapt to riding under the new rules, and their constructive engagement with the process which has helped bring about these further improvements.

“We will continue to liaise with the PJA and jockeys as we continue the roll-out and embedding of the new rules.”

1. Repeat offences

Currently any rider who commits three offences of any type is referred to the Independent Judicial Panel. However, on an interim basis, the rule has been changed such that:

  • Any jockey will be referred to the Independent Judicial Panel following their third above permitted level-only offence within a six-month period.
  • However, a jockey will not be referred to the Independent Judicial Panel after just three ‘technical’ offences.
  • Instead, once a jockey commits five offences of any type (this can be a combination of above permitted level and other misuse offences) within a six-month period they will be referred to the Independent Judicial Panel.
  • Should a jockey be referred for either three above permitted level offences or five offences of any type, then these offences drop off their referral record so a jockey cannot be referred twice for the same offence

This is to distinguish between offences for use above the permitted level and those offences which are in relation to technique, as jockeys continue to adjust their riding styles.

This is an interim adjustment which has been put in place until the BHA and PJA hold a formal review in the summer after full implementation across both codes has passed.

2. Suspension dates

During initial drafting of the rules it was intended that a suspension imposed by the Whip Review Committee (WRC) should be imposed 14-days from the date of the referral by the stewards.

However, following discussions with the PJA it was felt that there could be several occasions where there would be insufficient time for a jockey referred to the WRC (and suspended) to lodge an appeal, and for it to be heard prior to the suspension.

The position agreed therefore was that all suspensions imposed by the WRC should start 14-days from its written decision.

Having been through the bedding-in period, and with suspensions now being imposed, the PJA and its members have asked to have the option to serve a suspension as if imposed by stewards on a raceday.

Therefore, jockeys in receipt of a notice of suspension from the WRC will now have the option of requesting that the suspension commences 14 days after the date of the referral by the stewards, should they not wish to appeal the penalty.

Otherwise the suspension will be served 14 days from the date of the WRC decision.

3. Riding fees

The rule has now been changed such that should a rider be disqualified from a race due to excessive use of the whip they will also forfeit their riding fee.

4. Whip Review Committee meetings

The Whip Review Committee will now switch to meeting twice a week rather than once.

The basic structure of the WRC’s meetings will be as follows:

Meet Rides considered
Tuesday Previous Thursday – Sunday
Friday Previous Monday – Wednesday


The next meeting of the WRC will be on Friday 31 March, covering rides from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 March.

5. Without regard to stride

References to the misuse offence ‘Without Regard to Stride’ (double strike) have been removed from the Whip Guidance. Offences of this nature will now instead be categorised as Without Time to Respond.

For more information contact:
Robin Mounsey
British Horseracing Authority
e: [email protected]