Fears whip rules could overshadow Cheltenham Festival prove unfounded
Fears the new whip rules could overshadow Cheltenham Festival prove unfounded as officials confirm NONE of the winning jockeys faced the threat of disqualification for over use of the whip
- New rules had been brought in to limit the use of the whip in horse racing
- Cheltenham was the first major meet where the regulations will be applied
- But none of winning riders this week had faced the threat of disqualification
- Click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival news, schedule and race results
Fears the controversial new whip rules could cause a storm of controversy at the Cheltenham Festival this week failed to materialise.
After Friday’s final race it was confirmed that none of the winning riders had faced the threat of disqualification for breaching the rules.
And just six of 444 Cheltenham rides had been referred to Whip Review Committee.
The new tighter regulations were tested at a major racing stage for the first time at this week’s Festival.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have faced criticism for introducing the rules — which allow a horse to be disqualified if a jockey uses the whip four times or more over the permitted seven in a jumps race — on the eve of the Festival.
None of the winning riders had faced the threat of disqualification for over use of the whip.
There is now a limit on how many times a jockey can whip their horse during a race
Since the new rules, which include harsher suspensions, were implemented on February 13, two horses which finished second have been disqualified.
The big question this week was how jockeys will react when the stakes are higher at Cheltenham.
British jockeys have had a short time to get used to the rules, including a bedding-in period when they were informed of what punishments they would have received, but most Irish riders will be operating under the rules for the first time.
Any potential disqualification would not be announced on the day, though, with all bets settled on the result.
But it was confirmed after the final race of the Festival on Friday evening that none of this week’s winning jockeys had faced the threat of disqualification.
BBC journalist Francis Keogh tweeted: ‘Six of the 444 Cheltenham rides will be referred to Whip Review Committee. Three of the referrals were for use above the permitted level, two for incorrect place and one for above shoulder height.’
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