What are the new whip rules in horse racing, do they affect Cheltenham Festival, how long are the bans? | The Sun

NEW whip rules have driven a stake through the heart of the sport.

There have been U-turns and chaos with Cheltenham Festival bans already imposed.

Here, Sun Racing explains exactly what the new rules are – and the penalties for breaking them.

What are the new whip rules?

The new whip rules were published by the BHA in mid-July following a lengthy review and consultation period.

Originally the biggest change was that the whip had to be used in the backhand position.

But this was scrapped by bosses after a wave of opposition from jockeys.

Now the biggest factors are the number of times a whip is used – and the force with which it is used.

The maximum number of times a whip can be used in a jumps race is seven times.

The maximum number of times a whip can be used in a Flat race is six times.

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Any more than this and the stewards will review the ride and, if necessary, issue a penalty (explained below).

The whip review committee will also look at how the whip was used.

Specifically, they will look at whether it was used from above shoulder height, whether the horse has been given time to respond, the purpose for which the whip was used, whether the horse was in contention or clearly winning at the time it was used, and whether the whip has been used in the correct place (i.e. on the horse’s hindquarter rather than flanks).

When do the new rules begin?

The new whip rules are already in full effect over jumps.

Lorcan Williams has proved the biggest victim of them so far – his 18-day ban ruling him out of Cheltenham Festival.

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In Flat racing, a bedding-in period will begin on February 27.

The full implementation on the Flat will start on March 27.

What are the penalties for breaking the new rules?

The threshold for acceptable use of the whip will remain at seven in a Flat race and eight in National Hunt racing.

However, there will be increased penalties for offences (ie going over the limit), including doubled suspensions in major races.

Currently, if a jockey goes one strike over the limit they are banned for four days.

If they go two over the limit they are banned for seven days.

Any jockey who uses the whip four times or more over the permitted level in ANY race will be disqualified.

If a rider is found to have committed an offence in a Class 1 or 2 race any suspension shall be double that recommended in the guidance.

If a professional rider is suspended for seven days or more they may also be fined a sum between £200 and £10,000 (£100 and £5,000 in the case of an apprentice) depending upon the type and value of the race, the rider’s finishing position and the length of the suspension imposed.

It's important to remember this will affect trainers and owners too – and would more than likely lead to a redistribution of prize money retrospectively.

What have those in the sport said?

Aidan O'Brien told Matt Chapman the new rules could be 'the beginning of the end for English racing'.

In a stark warning to the sport's governing bodies, he said he is not aware of any jockeys who think the new rules are a good idea.

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