Walsh loses appeal against 'unfair' ban

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The Independent Online

Ruby Walsh yesterday failed in his appeal against the five-day ban that provoked fresh uproar at Aintree last month among jockeys incensed by the new whip regulations.

The Irishman was ruled to have used his whip nine times when winning on Edgardo Sol, once more than is now permitted over jumps. "We argued the slap down the shoulder on the approach to the last was corrective, and for safety," Walsh told the Racing UK channel. "They accepted it was corrective but not for safety.

"I believe correction is safety. He was changing legs and on an off-fore lead going to the last. If I had met it on the wrong stride, I would have jumped in front of Sam Twiston-Davies."

Walsh is now vulnerable to a 10-day ban for any further breach. "It's a fair cloud to have hanging over you," he admitted. "I just think the rules are unfair, way too stringent and strict. What's going to happen when it gets really heavy, and you're riding green, three-mile novice chasers? Common sense has to come into it, and the BHA have to look again.

"The rules are far too tight. I'm not into numbers. Every case is individual. It's a grey area [that] people are trying to make black and white. If seven is acceptable in a five-furlong race, how can eight be acceptable in a jumps race? It's bizarre.

"The situation will get worse before it gets better. People will end up doing what I did instinctively, to correct a horse, and walk into bans. I didn't deliberately break the rules – I counted to eight but the instinctive slap got me in trouble."

Walsh has said he will curtail his visits to Britain, but reiterated his priority is to remain available for big meetings.

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