Matt Chapman: The BHA's whip rules are complete nonsense and once again I call on them to have an interview with me | The Sun

THE British Horseracing Authority believes its whip rules will make jockeys better than those we have seen in the past.

That means those in power are so deluded they think their rules would have improved some of the greatest riders ever, like Lester Piggott, Michael Kinane, Johnny Murtagh, Pat Eddery, Steve Cauthen and Kieren Fallon.

We know this after an extraordinary statement from the BHA on Thursday when the sport’s governing body handed out yet more jaw-dropping suspensions.

We are talking the kind of suspensions that cause so much upset and stress to a rider that you have to wonder where it all might lead. Bans that could have serious effect on someone’s mental health and welfare.

Four jockeys were smashed with a combined total of 123 days for contravening the rules.

Jonjo O'Neill Jr and Marco Ghiani and apprentice Paula Muir received 21, 25 and 35 days respectively for their third breaches under the new guidelines, while Kielan Woods, who has committed five offences since the enhanced punishments were introduced earlier this year, received a monster 42-day ban.

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In an incredible revelation, a BHA spokesperson, and note it’s always a spokesperson in these instances so no-one can ever be held to account, said: “The core objectives of the new rules include bringing about an overall improvement in riding standards.”

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

What utter nonsense. Basically the BHA is saying that if you stay within the contrived whip rules – that have no scientific substance – you will become a better rider.

That’s like putting two and two together and coming up with seven. Who has decided they are inclusive? Arguably it’s exactly the opposite. The BHA’s rules prevent a jockey from plying their trade with the skills they have developed.

And as I have said many times, the nonsensical rules are one thing, but the insane penalties for breaking them are another.

Muir will now have no income from rides for 26 days. In the same period last year she had 22 rides which equated to just short of £3,500. She has bills to pay. She’s not a millionaire. She’s just a normal person trying to earn a living.

Remember, the ban Muir has been handed was not even a discussion last year. Nothing she has done is a welfare issue. NOTHING.

Matt Chapman’s ITV Racing tips


2.00 Kihavah

2.35 Fortamour each-way

3.05 Quickthorn

3.40 Chasseral each-way


2.15 Baltimore Boy each-way (NAP)

2.50 Great State


3.20 Man Of Eden

I've never met anyone who can actually tell me why the new whip rules were needed.

The closest one gets to an answer is that there is a group out there in society who find offence by the use of a Pro-Cush whip in racing. I'm quite happy to accept that. There are groups in the world who take offence to almost anything. That's the world for you.

But to change a sport purely on that basis is absurd in the extreme.

Yes, of course, all sports need to develop and try and better themselves. And yes, of course, the world is a changing place and some things that were acceptable fifty years ago might not be acceptable now.

But there is absolutely no need for horse racing to cower away like a mouse about to be clutched by a cat.

Gosh, if only racing's leaders would defend this sport for the right reasons. Don't give us nonsense about jockeys being better riders now than they were in the past just because they abide by different rules.

Who are they trying to kid? Certainly not anyone with any intelligence. There have always been good riders and there have always been less-good riders and changing the whip rules won't change that.

As many of you know, I have begged the BHA’s leaders for a television interview so that I can question those in charge. They don't respond. They hide away and occasionally talk to their chosen ones.

On a personal level, it would be easier to get an interview or response from the BHA if I represented an animal rights group rather than being someone who puts their heart and soul into the game they love.

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I have no idea what the BHA is so scared of. These are highly intelligent people who in any interview should be able to run rings around someone like me. It’s quite extraordinary that they refuse to speak.

No wonder they say secret guilt by silence is betrayed.


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