Minor adjustments to whip penalty guidance

01 Jul 2024 BHA Features

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed the following minor changes to the whip penalty guidance, which come into effect today [Monday 1 July].

The changes have been agreed as part of the ongoing process of review, refinement and dialogue, including with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and riders from both codes.

We are grateful to riders for their continued support and co-operation as we continue to embed the new rules, while retaining the original objectives of more judicious use for encouragement, improving perception and ensuring that the outcomes of races are fair.


Mitigation for technical offences

The penalty mitigations for going once above the permitted level have been extended to also include some technical offences, including use in the incorrect place or without three full strides between use.

This can be applied where a rider is deemed to have misused the whip but has not gone above the minimum number of uses which amount to a breach.

The mitigation will not be applied in instances of excessive force, showing no response, or out of contention, nor will it be applied where a rider is found to have used their whip once above the permitted level AND they commit another type of misuse in the same race.


Number of rides to be factored into deferred suspension

The guidance has been amended so that any suspension which is suspended following a ‘totting up ‘referral also factors in the number of rides the jockey has had since the whip offence.

Under the previous guidance, a rider referred to the Judicial Panel for ‘totting up’ of whip offences may have their suspension, or part of their suspension, deferred for six months, regardless of the number of rides the jockey has in that period.

From 1 July, any deferred part of a suspension will factor in the number of rides the jockey has had, with the suspension either in place for a period of six months OR until the rider has ridden in 200 further Flat races or 150 further Jump races in Great Britain – whichever comes first.

The suspended portion of the penalty would then only come into effect if there has been a further rule breach within the six-month period or before the jockey has completed the allotted number of rides. In this instance, the deferred suspension will be combined with the new period of suspension to form one single sanction.