28 February 2023

Second horse disqualified under new whip rules

28 February 2023

A second horse has been disqualified under the British Horseracing Authority’s revised whip rules.

Amateur rider James Turner was referred to the Whip Review Committee after finishing second aboard the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Mavis Pike in the Fresh Approach at Vertem Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race at Newcastle on Saturday.

Turner was deemed to have used his whip five times over the permitted level of seven, with none of the strikes considered to have been clearly and unequivocally for safety purposes.

As a result the horse is disqualified from the race and Turner is suspended for 20 days, running intermittently from Tuesday 14 March to Monday 24 April.

The new regulations came into full effect on February 13 and the James Moffatt-trained Lunar Discovery was the first horse to be disqualified, with her rider Charlotte Jones banned for 14 days after striking the horse 11 times.

A total of 20 bans were handed out in the first week, with 12 rides referred from February 20-26 and nine suspensions issued so far, with two results pending and one ride found not in breach.

Conor O’Farrell’s ride aboard Knocknamona in the Campbell Handicap Chase at Carlisle came under scrutiny and he was found to have used the whip once above the permitted level and received a four-day suspension running from March 18 to March 21 inclusive.

On the same card, William Shanahan used his whip twice over the threshold when riding Our Sam in the Cambridge Handicap Hurdle and is therefore banned for seven days from March 14-20 inclusive – meaning he misses any chance of riding at the Cheltenham Festival.

Conditional rider Philip Armson received a 14-day ban and a £650 fine for overuse of the whip during his winning ride on Gwencily Berbas in the Virgin Bet Devon National Handicap Chase, with the suspension running from March 14-27 inclusive.

Alice Proctor, an amateur, was also handed a 11-day ban for her ride on Golden Poet, having been found to have used her whip when out of contention in the Maurice Broadway 70th Birthday Celebration Open Hunters’ Chase at Taunton.

High-profile riders Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Cannon were both given suspensions for rides at Lingfield and Market Rasen on Supasunrise and Presenting A Queen respectively.

Both will serve four-day bans for using their whips without giving their mounts time to respond, ruling them out March 18-21 inclusive, but leaving them free to take their rides at the Festival.

A BHA spokesperson said: “Jockeys are clearly quickly adapting to the new rules, and we praise them for this.

“We hope all jockeys realise that using the whip without regard for the thresholds in place could very easily lead to disqualification, and to ensure that this does not happen.

“There is no justification for using the whip four times or more above the permitted level.”

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