The implementation date for the revised whip rules in Jump racing is this Monday, 13 February.
Throughout the bedding-in period we have worked with the PJA and jockeys to identify where improvements could be made to the raceday procedures and the Whip Review Committee process.
This was the purpose of the bedding-in period.
Over the course of this period we’ve refined the way the Stewards and the Whip Review Committee are assessing rides as part of their operating procedures, to ensure the rules and guidance are being applied proportionately, as intended and within the scope of the guidance. This includes, for example, refined procedures for Stewards and the Whip Review Committee to assist with identifying use of the whip above shoulder height in a proportionate manner.
In addition, we have marginally adjusted the way penalties are calculated to ensure they will also be applied proportionately. This includes ensuring that only offences for use of the whip above the permitted level are being doubled in Class 1 and 2 races (noting that the vast majority of all pre-reform whip offences were for above permitted level), and a tweak to how offences are aggregated where multiple offences are committed in the same ride.
We are grateful for the input of the PJA, NTF and a number of senior riders and trainers and, as a result of that collaboration, the new rules and guidance will be implemented in the manner in which they were intended – to deliver more considered and judicious use of the whip.
The Whip Review Committee has also today published the findings of its review of rides from the period 30 January – 5 February, details of which can be found here: WRC_decisions_070223.pdf (britishhorseracing.com)
There were only two breaches of the rules under the existing guidance, the same as last week.
It is clear that the bedding-in process has been beneficial and jockeys have made significant changes in riding style. They deserve great credit for responding to the challenge of new rules. It has also allowed officials to familiarise themselves with how to implement the new rules.
A BHA spokesperson said:
“The rules being implemented on Monday are the result of a detailed consultation process designed to foster more considered and judicious use of the whip.
“They are being introduced after an extensive bedding-in period which has successfully allowed jockeys and officials to familiarise themselves with the new rules and guidance and identify where improvements can be made to their implementation, or where some jockeys might need to adapt their riding style. This was the purpose of the bedding-in period.
“We are grateful for the input of the PJA, NTF and a number of senior riders and trainers and we have now reached a position where the new rules and guidance will be implemented in the manner in which they were intended.
“We were pleased to note jockeys stating that the responsibility now rests on them to ride within the new rules and adapt their riding style where necessary. We have already seen this happening during the bedding-in period, for which jockeys deserve great credit.”
Notes to Editors
• The Review Committee’s meeting this week covered races from 30 Jan – 5 Feb, the period during which improvements were continuing to be made to our processes. During this period the process of refining implementation had remained ongoing.
• The rules and guidance are being implemented proportionally and as intended following extensive dialogue between the BHA, PJA and senior jockeys.
• The bedding-in period has been successfully used to identify practical issues and make improvements where necessary, as well as for jockeys to be able to identify where adaptation is required and make necessary changes.
• The main change for riders is the reduction in thresholds for use. For most jockeys this does not involve a substantial change in riding style. Those who have required to change have been given over two months to do so.
• It is not “new” that jockeys can be found in breach of the rules for using the whip above shoulder height. This has been a part of Britain’s – and other racing nations’ – whip rules for many years, alongside other elements such as when out of contention, without time to respond, when clearly winning etc.
• We have kept Irish jockeys fully updated on all the developments during the bedding-in period. Like British riders, all Irish riders will be required to complete the mandatory education module before riding over here.
• Full details in relation to the whip rules can be found here: British Horseracing Authority | The whip in British horseracing