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Towcester whip up debate

Towcester’s decision to ban jockeys from hitting their mounts with the whip appears unlikely to ratified by the British Horseracing Authority in the immediate future.

Directors at the Northamptonshire venue want all races to be run under the same regulations as those which accompany the apprentice hands and heels series at their jumps meetings from October 5.

Should the move be passed, jockeys would be allowed to carry whips — but only use them in front of the saddle.

The BHA had already announced a review of the use of the whip following complaints received after the victory of Ballabriggs in the Grand National.

Winning rider Jason Maguire picked up a five-day ban for excessive use yet was allowed to keep the race. Towcester's initiative cannot be implemented without BHA approval.

“Whilst the vast majority of riders comply with the rules and use the whip responsibly, we decided to review our rules relating to acceptable use of the whip some time ago, and certainly before Aintree and the subsequent media interest. Towcester's request will be looked at as part of this wider review,” said the BHA's Paul Struthers.

“We are not in a position to put a timescale on when we will reach our conclusions.”

Towcester believe the time is right to make the bold move.

“The groundswell of public opinion seems to be reaching a crescendo that the whip is cruel and that seems to be the public's perception,” said Towcester general manager Kevin Ackerman.

Meanwhile, Tony McCoy is reunited with Noble Prince in the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse tomorrow as the pair bid to emulate their Cheltenham Festival success.

McCoy rode Noble Prince to victory in the Jewson Chase on St Patrick’s Day and Paul Nolan’s charge will start favourite in the feature on the opening day of the Irish Grand National meeting.

Noble Prince is sure to face stiff competition tomorrow from the likes of Realt Dubh, Mikael D’Haguenet and Loosen My Load but should prevail.

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