Paul Struthers, Head of Communications for the BHA, said:
“We only received Towcester’s request yesterday afternoon. This is certainly not something that can happen without the permission and agreement of the British Horseracing Authority.
“Racing is the most highly regulated of equine disciplines, and our rules are under constant review. Whilst the vast majority of riders comply with the rules and use the whip responsibly, we decided to review our rules relating to acceptable use of the whip some time ago, and certainly before Aintree and the subsequent media interest. Towcester’s request will be looked at as part of this wider review.
“We have already had several discussions with David Muir from the RSPCA about it and statistical analysis has been ongoing for some time. World Horse Welfare and the SSPCA will also be involved.
“We will be looking at the effectiveness of the existing rules and the penalty structure and also the appropriateness of the rules regarding what is deemed acceptable use. This will be a wide-ranging review of the issue, which will seek the views and input from various sectors within the industry. It will also take into account the views of those who watch and bet on racing as well as wider public perception, through polling and a survey.
“We are not in a position to put a timescale on when we will reach our conclusions. How the whip is best regulated within racing for the good of the sport is a crucial issue for the sport to get to grips with, and it is vital we get it right.”