The Whip

IT might look as though it was a decent away win for the BHA in the aftermath of the Festival with no bad publicity from use of the whip and only six riders penalised.

Suspensions were given to Harry Cobden, Jonathan Burke, J.J. Slevin, Sean Bowen, Freddie Gordon and Lorcan Murtagh for breaches, although they will all still be free to ride at next month’s Grand National meeting.

The Cobden ban was for whip use above shoulder height, Slevin, Gordon and Murtagh were each given eight-day bans for using the whip above the permitted level of seven strikes while Burke and Bowen’s were for striking in the incorrect position.

The BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea praised members of the weighing room for adapting to the new guidelines as “no horses who ran were referred to the whip review committee as a potential disqualification, and to result in so few referrals in general. No jockeys used the whip above the permitted level on any winning ride over all four days.”

It was noted in some online comments that finishes “looked better” and the only ‘wonder if’ story might have come from Gerri Colombe’s defeat in the Brown Advisory.

But you also have to put that alongside last year when no one was looking with such scrutiny and there were also only six bans handed down for breaching the old rules which no one thought were all that lenient at the time.

It’s all in the visuals but there was really little need for all the bruhaha or airbrushing that led up the Festival and in actual fact, not that much changed.

“It is wonderful the stories were all about the action on the track.” Dunshea added, but that was actually the same last year.

Stable staff

Moving from A to B during Cheltenham for many of us may account for gettimg from press room to parade ring or bar to bookmakers but spare a thought for the hardest working crew – the stable staff.

The Thoroughbred Tales twitter account set out to monitor how many steps some of the staff covered during the Festival under the hash tag #CheltenhamStableStaffSteps

The winner was Amiee Morrisey from the Willie Mullins stable who covered 45,800 steps ahead of Sinead O’Brien from Gordon Elliotts. That’s over 20 miles over the four days.

Amiee was also a winner in walking the distance from the pull-up area to the winner’s enclosure, escorting the exciting novice Impaire Et Passe into the number 1 spot after the Ballymore.

White take off boards

We have no real way of knowing if the change from orange to white made any difference to horses jumping better. Racing Post’s Chris Cook noted that there were no fallers over fences at all on the Thursday. There was only one faller in total on that day over hurdles. The overall total for the meeting came to 12 fallers over fences and four unseats.

However, there were no fallers in the novice hurdles, which comprised the Supreme, Boodles, Ballymore, Mares Novice, Triumph and Albert Bartlett which is interesting.