Jockeys threaten a general ban on the use of the whip under radical new proposals to be presented in February
- Horse Welfare Board has been established to hold urgent consultations on whip use recommendable
- Racing chiefs have become more concerned about whip issues in recent years
- British Horseracing Authority (BHA) accepts the need for a broad evaluation
Jockeys faces the threat of a complete ban with the help of the whip among radical new proposals to be presented next year.
Sportsmail has learned that the Horse Welfare Board has been established to recommend urgent advice on how to use the whip when it publishes its publication Horse Welfare Strategy in February, a document that range of options, including a general ban.
The placing of further restrictions on the number and method of firing allowed by jockeys will also be considered.
Racing chiefs have become increasingly concerned about the whip issue in recent years, both in terms of horse welfare and its wider impact on the image of the sport.
There are particular concerns that animal abuse perceptions hamper attempts to broaden the appeal of racing to a younger audience, making the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) accept the need for a comprehensive evaluation.
The most recent whip guidelines were introduced in 2011, which included a clamp on the figure r times, the whip can be used during a race to seven on the Flat and eight over Jumps.
Since then, the number of annual rule violations by jockeys has almost halved from more than 1,000 to just over 500, but there is widespread acceptance of the need to look at a controversial issue again and consider a ban.
The BHA is deemed to have carried out its own assessment calling for changes, currently being considered by the Horse Welfare Board before publishing their strategy.
An alternative option that will also appear in welfare planning limits the use of the whip for when jockeys are concerned about the safety of their horse, rather than using it to encourage them, although this is pressure on the stewards.
This year the BHA established a new Horse Welfare Board in the aftermath of a disastrous Cheltenham Festival – where three horses died, including Invitation only in the Gold Cup – with a mandate to investigate the use of the whip in particular. Former sports minister Tracey Crouch MP was added to the board in April as an independent member.
The pressure in the racing world has increased for stricter whip limits, with legendary Australian owner and six-time Melbourne Cup winner Lloyd Williams calling for a total ban in October.
As an indication of the direction of travel, the Irish Horse Racing Council first imposed restrictions on the use of the whip last year, and the BHA warned that it may take temporary measures & # 39; for the Grand National in April, but stopped.
Every call for a blanket would be strongly resisted by many in sports, especially the Professional Jockeys Association. The conservative party's victory in last week's general election can also help reduce the political pressure for a complete ban.