McCoy’s blast at racing chiefs over whip rules
In a new twist to the row over the whip rules, 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy last night hit out at the British Horseracing Authority for, he claims, misrepresenting his views.
Ulsterman McCoy and top Flat jockey Frankie Dettori have distanced themselves from comments made in a BHA statement when the news rules were unveiled.
McCoy, the current BBC Sports Personality of the Year, said last night: “Before these whip rules came out, Frankie was called on the Sunday night and was told what was happening.
“He was told that it was in the best interests of everyone if he agreed and put his name to it, and that he was happy to support the proposals.
“A few minutes later I got the same call.
“What we weren't aware of was the penalties that they carried.
“We didn't give them properly informed approval and we really do wish the BHA would stop saying that we did.
“We've no problem with the number of times (a horse can be struck) — we were all aware that the numbers were going to have to come down — it's the penalties that the lads are very upset with.”
In one of the most high-profile incidents to date, Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon lost more than £50,000 in prize money and was given a five-day ban for flouting the new whip rules.
He was punished after he struck his mount six times in the final furlong as he won the £1.3m Champion Stakes on Cirrus Des Aigles at Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
McCoy added: “You saw Christophe Soumillon got a huge penalty for a minor breach of a rule.
“What we think is wrong is the taking of the percentage of winnings. This is a tough sport, with an ambulance following you around every day.
“Prize money in this country is pretty poor without taking away the little bit that a jockey can earn off us.
“The numbers we have been given is not a problem. The issue is the severity of a penalty for a minor breach of a rule.”
The Professional Jockeys’ Association yesterday called for urgent progress in amending the stricter new whip rules brought into effect last week.
Fears of a strike by jockeys at Windsor and Pontefract on Monday was averted on Friday night after the BHA invited the PJA to a board meeting on Monday.
Representatives of the PJA, including chief executive Kevin Darley, McCoy, Dettori and Ryan Moore, met with the BHA in London, with a review of the new regulations due from racing's rulers at the end of the week.
Darley said in a statement: “There is now a process of proper consultation and discussion involving jockeys which should have happened before the original announcement by the BHA.”