Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Walsh whip appeal fails

Ruby Walsh

Ruby Walsh has failed in his appeal against the five-day ban he picked up at Aintree after appearing at British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London.

Walsh was ruled by the local stewards to have used his whip nine times when winning on the Paul Nicholls-trained Edgardo Sol last month, once more than allowed under the new rules.

Walsh had been adamant one of his 'strikes' down the neck was used as a corrective measure on approach to a fence, but the BHA disciplinary panel upheld the decision of the Aintree officials and the suspension stands.

Giving his reaction, Walsh told Racing UK: "We argued the slap down the shoulder on the approach to the last was corrective and for safety. They accepted it was corrective but not for safety, so they overturned the appeal.

"I believe that correction is safety, he was changing legs and on an off-fore lead going to the last and if I had met it on the wrong stride, I would have jumped in front of Sam Twiston-Davies' horse. They viewed it differently to me and I got a five-day ban for it.

"They asked me what else I could have done, I said that's what I've always done and what anyone who rides a horse does. They asked me if I was aware of the rules, I think everyone is well aware of what the rules are but in my eyes it was corrective.

A further breach of the rules would see Walsh handed a 10-day ban, and he said: "It's a fair cloud to have hanging over you. I just think the rules are unfair and are way too stringent and way too strict.

"What's going to happen when it gets really heavy and you are 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 honestly believe the situation will get worse before it gets better. Bans will start to mount up, people will end up doing what I did - instinctively doing something to correct a horse that is not allowed and walk into five-day and 10-day bans.

"I spoke to Paul (Nicholls) briefly, we'll have a chat over the weekend and see what we do but I want to be riding at the big meetings. You're dealing with a fine line, it's like a yellow card, it's a balancing act."

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