Article Date: 15-June-2012
The Turf Club today published the report of the Whip Sub-Committee which was set up on 30th September 2011 to review the use of the whip in Irish horseracing.
The Sub-Committee met with 11 representatives groups and three interested parties as well as considering seven written submissions.
The recommendations made have been accepted by the Stewards of the Governing Bodies and any changes will come into effect on 2nd July 2012.
Report of Whip Sub-Committee
The Stewards of the Governing Bodies announced the setting up of a Whip Review Sub-Committee on 30th September 2011 following the publication of the BHA’s “Review of the use of the whip in Horseracing”.
The members of the Sub-Committee were:
§ Leslie Crawford– Chairman, (former trainer and current member of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase (I.N.H.S.) Committee
§ Tom Rudd(former national hunt jockey and current member of the Turf Club and I.N.H.S. Committee)
§ Colin Magnier(former leading amateur rider and current member of the Turf Club and I.N.H.S. Committee)
§ Laurence McFerran(member of the I.N.H.S. Committee and breeder)
§ Peter Matthews(head of on-course integrity activities and senior stipendiary steward)
In addition the committee received executive support from Denis Egan (Chief Executive of the Turf Club), Josh Byrne (I.N.H.S. Registrar) and Vincent Hughes (Integrity Support Officer).
2. Terms of Reference
The terms of reference for the Sub-Committee were:
i) to examine the BHA recommendations in the context of the current Irish whip rules and guidelines with a view to determining how many, if any, of the recommendations should be introduced in Ireland.
ii) to consult widely with industry stakeholders on the use of the whip in Ireland.
iii) to consider any other matters relating to the use of the whip which were not addressed or where no recommendation was made in the BHA report.
iv) to make whatever recommendations are necessary for consideration by the Stewards of the Governing Bodies.
3. Summary of meetings with Industry representative groups / Interested parties
In total the sub-committee met with 11 representative and 3 interested parties namely:
i) Irish Racing Writers
ii) Association of Irish Racecourses
iii) Turf Club veterinary surgeons
iv) Racegoers’ Consultative Forum
v) Irish Racehorse Trainers Association
vi) Association of Irish Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons
vii) Qualified Riders Association
viii) Association of Irish Racehorse Owners
ix) Blue Cross Ambulance Service
xi) Irish Jockeys Association
xii) Paddy Power Bookmakers
xiii) Derek O’Connor – champion point-to-point rider
xiv) Conor O’Dwyer – former leading national hunt rider and current trainer
The sub-committee also received 7 written submissions.
There was a great degree of unanimity in the various submissions made and while it wasn’t possible to accept all suggestions, it was possible to incorporate the majority of proposals because of the similarity of what was being proposed. There was an acceptance that there isn’t a problem with the use of the whip in Ireland. This is borne out by the paucity of complaints received by any of the groups that met with the sub-committee or who made written submissions. There was also an acceptance that the stewards were policing the current rule fairly and that it was important to ensure that the stewards continue to have discretion in the application of rules and regulations.
The following are the recommendations of the Whip Sub-Committee. The recommendations have been accepted by the Stewards of the Governing Bodies and will apply with effect from 2nd July 2012.
There will be no change to the current whip rules with the following exceptions:
i) The use of the cushioned whip will be mandatory.
ii) No whip type will be permitted to be used in a race unless it has been approved in advance by the Stewards of the Governing Bodies.
iii) The Stewards of the Governing Bodies will only approve whips that conform to the following specifications:-
- the maximum length (including flap) should not exceed 70centimetres
- there must be no binding within 17centimetresof the end of the flap
- the minimum diameter for a whip should be 1 centimetre
- the overall weight must not exceed 160 grams
- the contact area of the shaft should be smooth, with no protrusion or raised surface, and covered by shock absorbing material throughout its circumference such that it gives a compression factor of at least 6 millimetres
- the downward vertical tip deflection, caused by a 1 kg mass located 57cm from the clamped end of a riding whip, must be between 12-15cm
iv) The use of the whip above shoulder height will be prohibited.
v) The use of worn whips will be prohibited.
vi) Whips will be routinely inspected by Turf Club officials to ensure that they are in good condition and that they conform to the required standard.
B. Penalties and Guidelines
i) The number of strikes will not be used to determine a breach of the rules; it will be left to the discretion of the stewards.
ii) Horses will not be disqualified if the whip rules are breached.
iii) In any twelve month period a rider may receive a caution for any breach of the whip regulations provided it is his first offence and that such breach would not merit a sanction greater than a caution. Only one caution may be given to a rider in any twelve month period.
iv) Penalties will increase for riders for each subsequent whip offence committed in any twelve month period unless the stewards are satisfied that exceptional circumstances prevail.
v) For the purposes of the application of the new penalty structure, all riders will be deemed not to have committed any whip offences in the previous twelve months i.e. from 2nd July 2011 to 1st July 2012.
vi) There will be greater penalties for overuse of the whip on horses out of contention and on riders who strike the horse in an incorrect place.
i) There will be no change to the current rules with regard to riding suspensions applying on Group 1/Grade 1 days.
ii) There will be greater emphasis on educating young riders on the correct use of the whip and senior jockeys will be used where possible to do this. All riders applying for a license for the first time will have to attend a course in RACE focusing specifically on the use of the whip.
iii) There will be more information available to the public on the use of the whip and the type of whip allowed.
iv) The same standards for the use of the whip will apply whether on the racecourse or at point to points.
The Stewards of the Governing Bodies would like to thank the whip sub-committee for their work. They would also like to thank all of the representatives of the various Industry bodies and everyone else who gave freely of their time and contributed to the report.
More on this story in The Irish Field on Saturday. Online from 10.30pm Friday
Pictured below: The air-cushioned whip is on the left and a more traditional style whip is on the right
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