Turf war engulfs racing as whip row turns vicious
The richest card in the history of the British Turf will today be overshadowed by an escalating row over new rules governing use of the whip.
The inaugural Qipco Champions' Day at Ascot was intended to represent a brave new dawn for the sport, but jockeys were being urged last night to resist the temptation to use it as a platform for protest – and to call off a planned walkout at lesser meetings on Monday.
A radical toughening in the definition of, and punishment for, whip offences was introduced by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) this week. Many in the industry were incensed by the timing, so close to their new showcase occasion. But the crisis intensified at Kempton on Thursday when Richard Hughes, one of the most respected and experienced riders in Britain, handed in his licence in disgust after being found guilty of a marginal breach for the second time in four days.
Hughes, whose use of the whip has long been considered exemplary, had been banned for 15 days and – unless there is a climbdown by the BHA – will not be able to take arguably his most important ride of the year, on the fancied Strong Suit at the Breeders' Cup in Kentucky next month. "Until the rules are resolved, I won't be riding," he said. "I'd rather retire. It's like telling Lionel Messi he can't use his left foot."
Paul Nicholls, the champion jumps trainer, urged the BHA to restore the former rules pending fresh talks with the jockeys. Kevin Darley, chief executive of the PJA, duly recommended that jockeys considering a strike on Monday should take their booked rides.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on Liverpool manager being sacked, despite Jurgen Klopp announcement
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
Betting company 'refuse to pay' after student wins £1,000 from 50p bet on Roger Federer
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A young, vibrant and growing co...