Comments from the BHA in response to the findings of the Whip Review Committee

22 Feb 2023 BHA Features Integrity Welfare

Speaking in regards to the findings of the Whip Review Committee in relation to rides from 13 – 19 February, the BHA issued the following comments:

David Jones, Chair of the Whip Consultation Steering Group

“The changes to the whip rules implemented last week were the result of an exhaustive consultation process. The new rules are based on recommendations which were put to the BHA Board by a Steering Group which consisted of expertise drawn from across the racing industry and beyond, including prominent jockeys and trainers.

“They were unanimous in agreement that changes must be made to ensure more judicious use of the whip for encouragement, and improve the perception of whip use.

“The changes include a reduction of one in the permitted number of uses of the whip to six in a flat race and seven in a jumps race, and increased penalties for offences. Jockeys consulted were in agreement that increased penalties were necessary.

“Similar changes were recently announced in France, where the thresholds for acceptable use are already lower than in British racing. 

“This is not about appeasing those who wish to see the sport banned, or attempting to convert them. It is instead about ensuring that racing takes control of its own destiny, and ensuring that we safeguard the sport against changing perceptions amongst its future audiences.

“Racing has so much to be proud about. We all look forward to celebrating the magnificent horses and people and the wonderful stories that our sport produces in the coming weeks.”

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer

Jockeys have had more than four weeks to adapt to the new rules through the bedding-in period. As the jockeys themselves have stated, it is now up to them to ensure that they ride within the new rules.”

Brant on disqualification:

“Disqualification has been introduced as the ultimate deterrent for overuse of the whip. There is simply no excuse for using the whip four or more times above the permitted level. It was always likely that the disqualification rule would need to be invoked in the early stages of the implementation of the new rules. We hope that this sends a clear message to all jockeys and reinforces this deterrent effect.”

Brant on Lorcan Williams’ 18-day suspension

“The whip has been used not only above the permitted level, but also from above shoulder height on multiple occasions. This is a breach of the rules in most racing jurisdictions. 

“Lorcan was advised on numerous occasions throughout the bedding in period of rides that would amount to a breach of the new Rules should he continued to ride in the same manner. The Review Committee have included a mandatory session with the British Racing School as part of his penalty. This is part of the purpose of the Committee, to bring about improvements in riding standards.”