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John McCririck blasts whip rules shake-up

By Keith Hamer

Racing pundit John McCririck believes the sport has missed an ideal opportunity to boost its image by failing to ban hitting horses with the whip.

The Channel 4 Racing and At The Races expert feels the British Horseracing Authority has been "gutless" in not abolishing the stick and it is simply just a matter of time before hitting horses will be a thing of the past.

"It's a typical BHA review and compromise.

"We've been talking about the whip for 30 years and the fact is the whip is on the way out," he said.

"There's no other living creature on the planet you are legally allowed to hit."

McCririck's views come after the result of a 10-month review by the BHA was announced.

Starting on October 10, the whip can only be used a maximum of seven times in a flat race, and up to eight times in a jumps race.

Of those, the horse can be struck no more than five times in the last furlong or after the last obstacle.

Increased entry-point penalties are being implemented, with a five-day minimum suspension for not adhering to the frequency limits. The previous minimum penalty was a caution.

A jockey who incurs a whip ban of three days or more will forfeit his riding fee and prize-money percentage.

Penalties will increase for those who breach the rules on more than one occasion, and the second offence will be double that of a first offence. The industry as a whole welcomes the new rules with the Professional Jockeys Association describing them as "concise and easy to understand".

Flat jockey Frankie Dettori said: "These new rules are easy to understand which will help all jockeys ride within them."

And Tony McCoy, champion jumps jockey for the last 16 years, said: "I hope my colleagues embrace the proposed changes as being in the best interest of the sport. I for one support the changes."

Belfast Telegraph

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