RACING in Britain has been dogged by issues surrounding the introduction of new whip rules in recent months, and the whip is proving to be a thorn in the side of a growing number of point-to-point riders here who are falling foul of increased scrutiny on race days.

The IHRB now has an official videoing both the start of races and the use of the whip in the closing stages, but it is the latter which is proving to be most significant with breaches covering a range of whip-related offences under Regulation 58.

In total there have been 26 instances up to the middle of this month of riders being found to be in breach of Regulation 58, with a combined 43 days’ worth of suspensions having been handed out in this period to 18 different riders.

Novice riders

It is worth noting that fewer than half of the riders that have picked-up whip-related suspensions this season have been novice riders, with just three of the 16 novice rider races run in this period producing a single whip regulation breach each.

Five different elements of the whip related Regulation 58 have been broken across the season but it is section (i), the use of the whip without allowing their mount at least three strides to respond, which is proving to be most problematic with no fewer than 13 individual breaches.

Ahead of the commencement of the peak months of the season, the use of the whip will undoubtedly need to be to the fore of a rider’s mind to avoid costly suspensions during the coming months, with these suspensions proving to be disproportionately more significant on point-to-point riders in contrast to their racecourse colleagues, given the number of weeks that a suspension encompassing a handful of point-to-point days can cover.

It is notable that in each instance of a whip breach this season published in the Irish Racing Calendar, all riders received suspensions, with no cautions having been applied.

This is in contrast to the situation on the racecourse where cautions are regularly handed out to jockeys in breach of the whip regulations.

Point-to-point Ratings

Wingmen impresses

THE sadly ill-fated subsequent Grade 1 winner Ginto is one of the Crocodile Pockets Syndicate-owned horses that Gordon Elliott has sent out to win a point-to-point when he was successful at Tattersalls in 2020.

Wingmen (92++) was the latest point winner for that combination when he matched Ginto’s 12-length winning debut with an impressive introduction of his own in Ballycrystal last Sunday.

Rob James brought the Kayf Tara gelding to the front at the midway point and, from that stage, he controlled the race, a race that was run to a good pace, clocking the quickest time of the day, some 18 seconds quicker than the average across the card.

Sewn up

Most of his rivals were toiling exiting the back straight and, by the penultimate fence, he had the race sewn up, such was his superiority over his rivals. He looks an exciting individual.

Von Hallers (77+) had to dig deep to hold off the rallying Caught A Vibe in the mares’ maiden on her return, while Gray Rock (95) denied the in-form Garcon Dargent a hat-trick in a slowly-run winners’ race.

He has the form to build up a sequence in the winners’ division and could be one for a maiden hunter chase during the spring.