What are the new whip rules in horse racing and when will they begin?

NEW whip rules set to be brought in in horse racing have split opinion in the sport.

Even now the British Horse Racing Authrority have said they could look to amend the proposed changes before they begin next year.

PA:Press AssociationThe use of whip is changing in racing – but it has caused a huge split in the sport[/caption]

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.

The key change is that the whip will only be allowed to be used in the backhand position.

Using the whip in the forehand position will be outlawed.

Some jockeys have raised issue with this, saying they are physically unable to use the whip effectively in the backhand position.

The graphic below shows the difference between the forehand and backhand position.

Jockeys have been told to only use the whip in the backhand position and not the customary forehand

When do the new rules begin?

In jumps racing a bedding-in period will begin on January 9.

Full implementation is set to be in place from February 6, just over a month before 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 a Jumps race.

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

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

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.

Sun Racing told you jockeys are considering strike action as civil war in the sport emerges over the new guidelines.

Paul Nicholls’ No1 jockey Harry Cobden described the new rules as ‘bloody ridiculous’.


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