Racing: Jockey Club to deliver whip decision

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The Independent Online
THE RULES governing the use of the whip may be extensively rewritten if the Jockey Club accedes to jockeys' requests today.

The Disciplinary Committee at Portman Square spent yesterday studying amendments to rule H9 put forward by the Jockeys' Association in the wake of Steve Cauthen's suspension for his use of the whip at Glorious Goodwood.

Cauthen's misdemeanour then was to use the stick in the outlawed forehand position down the neck of two of his mounts, Witness Box and Daru. As his fellow riders considered the implications of that rule, they uncovered various other discrepancies in the laws.

The American himself still maintains his riding at Goodwood should not have been penalised. 'I consider myself as a teacher, a schoolmaster, and hitting the horse down the neck is not improper use of the whip,' he said from Leicester racecourse yesterday. 'It's been used by some of the best jockeys down the ages.'

This belief finds favour with John Reid, this year's Derby-winning jockey, who is joint-president of the Jockeys' Association. 'Not everyone uses the whip in the forehand position anyway, but done correctly there's no way it's doing horses any harm,' he said yesterday. 'It's no more vigorous than using the whip in the other position and really we think that is a red herring.'

This is not the only aspect of the rule book that has caught the Association's attention. 'No-one wants to get back to overuse of the whip and nobody wants to see horses beaten up, but we do want more flexibility,' Reid says.

'A lot of the rules are close to contradicting each other and it's confusing for us, never mind the stewards who have to look at them. For example, one rule penalises jockeys for hitting a horse that has no chance of winning and another says you must ride a horse to get its best possible place in a race, so, to a certain extent, there's a contradiction.'

The jockeys have also requested leeway on the ruling that states that any rider who hits a horse more than 10 times should be investigated, and a further law which stipulates the whip should never be used from above shoulder level.

'Some horses need different handling from others and sometimes when you're in a very tight position the only way you can hit the horse is by bringing the stick from up over the top of your head,' Reid says.

'All these rules were written in good faith but they needed amending a little bit and we want to work with the Jockey Club towards that and not battle with them.'

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