25 Mar 1999 Pre-2014 Releases

Hands & Heels Apprentice Series

Published: 25 March 1999

The Jockey Club today announced the details and dates for a series of races for apprentices in which the riders carry a whip, but may not use it except for safety and correction.

The “Hands and Heels” Apprentice Series is designed to teach jockeys how to ride out with hands and heels without resorting to the whip. The series is one of several educational initiatives introduced by the Jockey Club which aim to help teach riders how to use the whip within the guidelines laid down in the Jockey Club Instruction. The Jockey Club sees education as the key to further improving the standard of riding.

The plan for an apprentice series was among a package of measures put forward by the Jockey Club in January relating to the design and use of the whip following a review last year. Under the chairmanship of the Jockey Club Racecourse Steward, Joey Newton, a working party was established to work out the details for the series of apprentice races in which restrictions would be imposed on the use of the whip.

In the series whips are to be carried, but they may not be used unless the safety of others is at risk, i.e use of the whip would be allowed if a horse is running in such a way that, unless corrected through the use of the whip, it poses a real threat to the safety of horses and riders. The whip may be pulled through into either hand by the rider, but it may not be waved or used either in front or behind the saddle in either the forehand or backhand position. If riders use their whips they will be suspended for a minimum of 10 days on which apprentice races take place. They will also be disqualified from taking any further part in the series.

It has been agreed by the Race Planning Committee of BHB that there will be a dozen races spread evenly across the country starting at Newmarket on May 1st and concluding at Sandown on 2nd October. The first six races will be for riders who have not ridden more than five winners and the second half dozen for riders who have not ridden more than 10 winners.

Joey Newton, chairman of the working party, said: “This initiative is purely educational. In the main there has been plenty of support for the idea and I would like to thank the Jockeys’ Association, who have been very helpful with their guidance, and the BHB Race Planning Department for all their assistance. We will consider the possibility of introducing a similar series over hurdles once we have had the chance to review the progress of the apprentice races.
“Each race is to be the last event on the card. This will enable Robert Sidebottom, Senior Instructor at the British Racing School, to review the race, from all angles, with the apprentices in the stewards’ room afterwards. The Jockey Club’s whip instruction has already been responsible for considerably improving the standard of riding, and the best way to continue with such progress is to teach jockeys good practice from the beginning of their careers.”

Notes for Editors:

1. The provisional dates and locations for the series are as follows:

Saturday 1st May Newmarket
Wednesday 12th May Brighton
Saturday 29th May Doncaster
Thursday 3rd June Yarmouth
Thursday 17th June Southwell (AWT)
Tuesday 29th June Hamilton
Monday 5th July Bath
Friday 9th July Wolverhampton (AWT)
Friday 30th July Thirsk
Friday 6th August Salisbury
Saturday 28th August Beverley
Saturday 2nd October Sandown

2. Educational courses and initiatives available to riders regarding use of the whip include training during initial apprentice and conditional courses and also remedial training for apprentices or conditionals who incur three whip offences. There are plans to introduce compulsory seminars for all jockeys in the year 2000 and discussions are at present on-going with regard to the introduction of continuation training for claimers before they ride out their allowance.

3. Following a review of the whip instruction last year the Jockey Club announced a package measures in January. These included the recommendation that a series of races for apprentices be established, as well as increased suspensions for offences in Group or Grade 1 races and a project at the Animal Health Trust to establish a benchmark or standard for what could be termed “equine friendly” whips.