Racing: Whips defended

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PETER SCUDAMORE yesterday criticised plans to cut by half the number of times a jockey can use the whip. The Jockey Club's Disciplinary Committee has recommended that the maximum be reduced from 10 strokes to five and the Stewards will decide at a meeting on Monday whether to approve the proposal.

The champion jockey believes more discussions should take place first. 'We've got into a terrible muddle over this. Jockeys have been put into a corner and told that they are the ones that are doing the abusing,' he said.

'Weals or injuries are not acceptable but, used in the right way, the whip will make a horse go faster. If it's wrong to hit a horse 10 times, it's wrong to hit a horse five times and the guidelines makeno difference.

Ironically, Scudamore was sitting out the final day of a four-day ban for misuse of the whip.

Dale McKeown yesterday announced that he is to retire from the saddle because he can not make a living from racing. The 28- year-old jump jockey rode 16 winners last year but has drawn a blank this term from barely 30 rides. His best score came four seasons ago when he rode 31 winners as first jockey to Reg Akehurst and his association with Brooke Sanders established him as the leading rider on Lingfield's all-weather track.