29 January 2023

Sean Quinlan speaks of real struggle with new whip rules

29 January 2023

Sean Quinlan has called for trainers to support the riding ranks in pushing for further discussion with the British Horseracing Authority over imminent changes to the whip rules.

Revised regulation is due to be fully implemented from February 13, with the very worst whip offences resulting in disqualification of horses and riding bans of 20 days – a tariff which will be doubled in class one and two races.

The BHA had initially proposed to prohibit the use of the whip in the forehand position – but reversed that decision following discussions after outcry from jockeys, instead opting to cut permitted use of the whip to six and seven strikes in Flat and jump races respectively, whilst also toughening up the penalty structure.

Using the whip above shoulder height will incur a four-day ban when the rules are properly introduced, with a soft launch currently in place with riders advised of what would constitute future breaches and what penalty they would have been given.

Quinlan claimed he would have been banned for 51 days over the last week as he tries to refine his riding technique, but feels further conversation is needed with the BHA as he is not the only member of the weighing room struggling to stay within the new framework.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m trying my best. I’ve done it for 20 years and used my whip – but now with this new rule apparently I’m breaking the rules with my hand coming above head height. 

“I am trying. I’ve had a few trainers and a few owners telling me I’m not actually riding to the best of my ability and it is affecting me a little bit. I actually threw my stick away in the last race as you’re just thinking about it the whole time. 

“It’s playing on every one of us. Brian Hughes is champion jockey and very rarely gets a whip ban, he’s been in and out of the stewards’ room – we all have. 

“We’re trying our best, but something needs to be done. I would have got 51 days last week, I’ve been called in six or seven times. 

“You’re trying to win a race for an owner but then you’re trying not to get banned for something that has been working for 20 years and now you’re not allowed to do it. 

“My action makes me get back to hit the horse in the right place. If I don’t use that action, I’m going to be catching the horse short. I’ve used that action and never had any problems with it. 

“We’ve got to keep on discussing with the BHA and we just need a lot of support from trainers.”

The whip review committee will be responsible for handing out suspensions under the new system. At its first meeting earlier this month 28 individual riders were referred and one jockey having contravened the rules enough to merit his mount being disqualified.

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