Jockeys reveal proposals for changes to new whip rules

Frankie Dettori and AP McCoy
Frankie Dettori and A P McCoy support some changes

Jockeys have revealed their proposals for changes to controversial new whip rules, which include scrapping financial penalties.

They also want the existing restriction of five hits in the last furlong, or after the last jump, abolished.

However, the riders are not opposed to the total maximum number of strokes in a race remaining at eight on the Flat or seven over jumps.

The dispute over tougher regulations nearly led to a strike on Monday.

But that threat receded when the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 17 October to possibly 'amend' some of the newly implemented whip regulations.

A main difference between the PJA's proposal and the new rules, which were introduced on 10 October, is that there would be no forfeit of riding fee or prize money.

On Saturday, Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon was stripped of his £50,000 winnings from Champions Day at Ascot.

PJA chief executive Kevin Darley said: "There is now a process of proper consultation and discussion involving jockeys which should have happened before the original announcement by the BHA last month.

"Had we been properly consulted over some of the important details that relate directly to jockeys prior to that announcement we feel that we would not be in the position we are today.

"Jockeys have no issues with the restricted amount of times they can use the whip under the new rules. The careers of jockeys are short by definition and the implications of financial penalties and long suspensions are savagely disproportionate."

The PJA would also like to see the penalty structure altered, with just a two-day suspension (currently five days) for one hit over the limit, four days for two more, and 10 days for three extra strikes of the whip.

Initially, jockeys Frankie Dettori and AP McCoy believed that the new rules were a positive step forward. However, in a joint statement, the two jockeys have now said: "In hindsight we would like to have given more thought and consideration to the new rules before commenting.

"We didn't give them properly informed approval and we really do wish the BHA would stop saying that we did."

Meanwhile, former champion Flat jockey Ryan Moore has called for a complete return to the old rules.

"You can't put a number on what is abuse, you could hit a horse once and it could be abuse and you could hit a horse 20 times and it wouldn't be," he told Racing UK.