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McCoy hits out at new rules on use of whip

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy last night lashed out at the controversial new rules on the use of the whip.

“It's not right in competitive racing,” was the 16-times champion jockey’s verdict after driving Lost Glory to win by a nose in a handicap hurdle at Huntingdon yesterday.

It was the first National Hunt meeting to take place under the new guidelines.

Ulsterman McCoy, the current BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and Brian Harding on the runner-up Winter Alchemy were making obvious efforts to use their whips sparingly.

Even so, both men brushed up against the new limits with four strokes each on the run-in and six in total, while the rules allow for five and eight respectively.

“I know everyone says it's easy to count but, if you've got any bit of will to win in your head, it's not,” McCoy said.

Harding, who had been in front until the final stride, felt that his need to abide by new restrictions had “probably cost me the race” because his mount had been idling after the final flight.

McCoy is famed for his competitive spirit and he added: “People say that, even with the new rules, there's still going to be a winner.

“But three-mile chases on heavy ground at staying tracks, it's going to be a poor spectacle.”

McCoy stressed the padded qualities of the modern whips, which he said should prevent horses from suffering pain through their use.

“I'm very aware that the perception of the sport is very important but I swear to God, my daughter's the most important thing in the world and I guarantee she wouldn't mind me tapping her on the leg with it.

“It's a noise effect. I tell you what, if I could put my thigh out in front (of the saddle) and let it slap down my thigh instead, I would do.

“We are aware that the rules had to be changed and I support them but there has to be a little room for a bit of tinkering because they're not perfect yet,” said the man from Moneyglass.

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