x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Overhaul of horse racing's controversial whip rules

British Horseracing Authority amends its regulations including the removal of five-hit rule which has troubled jockeys.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have announced major changes to the controversial new whip regulations - including the removal of the five-hit rule inside the final furlong/after the last obstacle.

Jockeys have struggled to come to terms with the guidelines since their introduction last Monday, which allow no more than seven hits in a Flat race and eight over jumps.

While that number remains the same, the BHA have scrapped the rule which states jockeys are allowed to use their whip no more than five times inside the final furlong, or after the final obstacle in National Hunt races.

Riders will now not lose their riding fee if suspended for a whip offence.

They will also only lose their percentage of prize-money if their offence earns a ban of seven days or more, rather than the three days the rules originally stated.

A BHA statement read: "The board is committed to the highest standards of regulation in the sport, and ensuring that British Horseracing continues to lead the way in matters of equine welfare.

"This is a sport not without its challenges, but they will always be outweighed by the sport's strengths.

"These challenges will best be met - and are being met - by finding a common purpose among the sport's participants, and by putting the sport first."

The adjusted guidelines will come into force for all race meetings this afternoon.

The BHA have also considered the impact on those jockeys who have received penalties that would not have been applied if the changes had been in place since the introduction of the new rules.

These penalties will be rescinded and appropriate measures have been taken, including the release of riding fees and prize-money, where applicable, and riding suspensions either annulled or adjusted.

The move means Christophe Soumillon, who has an agreement with Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa during the UAE racing season, will now receive the substantial percentage of the prize-money for winning the Qipco Champion Stakes on Cirrus Des Aigles at Ascot last Saturday.

He had been stripped of £52,000 (Dh300,000) and suspended five days.