The new whip rules for flat riding in the UK came into effect on March 27, six weeks from when they were fully implemented across jumps.
The respite period for flat horse athletes to adapt to the rule changes comes later in the calendar, from February 27, as some riders will spend the winter abroad and races. All-weather meetings at Lingfield and Wolverhampton will be the first to follow the guidelines more closely.
Flat riders will be able to use whips up to six times in a race, and will be disqualified from riding if they make four or more hits above that threshold. Riders also face increased penalties for breaking the rules.
The number of strokes was reduced to one, from seven, when the amendments to the original recommendations were changed in January, at a time when the plan to ban forehand use was scrapped.
A BHA spokesman said on March 26: “After a four-week period in bed, the new whip rules went into effect during Monday’s flat race. We’ve been in contact with the PJA and jockey. throughout my time in bed and will continue to do so.”
Luke Morris, who has had more races in the UK this year than any other flat jockey, will be among those operating under the new rules on day one when he has a book. Complete book on seven races at Lingfield.
“I found the bed phase perfectly fine,” he says. “Everyone has been working hard together, the wage managers and the racers, and I’ve attended a few meetings with the PJA and members of the BHA and things are going well.
“People are embracing it and hopefully there won’t be too many problems in the future. I had a few cases in the first week, but they were deemed non-violent and since then, thankfully, everyone everything went smoothly and smoothly. overcoming it is still the same.”
In the first week of the introduction of the new jumping rules, Lunar Discovery, runner-up in the bumper Ayr race, became the first horse to be disqualified under tight British restrictions after campaigning. Jockey Charlotte Jones used her whip 11 times, which is four hits on the horse. allowed seven in the jump race.
It was one of 20 decisions made by the whip review committee since that week, including an 18-day ban on jockey Lorcan Williams.
Although another case occurred the following week, that was the case of Mavis Pike, who finished second in Newcastle after driver James Turner was found to have used the whip five times in excess, the Cheltenham Festival May This, considered an acid test of the new rules, was passed without any horses being thrown out.
Harry Cobden has been banned for four days from using an over-the-shoulder cane during the Stay Away Fay show at Albert Bartlett in the only case where a winning ride violated new rules at the festival.
“The jumpers were in a bit of a predicament when they were the first to come across it,” Morris said. “Payroll managers are learning as much as horse racers on how to implement the new rules, but things have settled down with very few cases.
“Everybody knows what we have to do and hopefully it goes well.”