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    Ban for breaking whip rules in the UK
Ban for breaking whip rules in the UK

Ban for breaking whip rules in the UK

Horse racing, a centuries-old sport enjoyed globally, has a contentious issue surrounding the use of whips. This article delves into the debate on whether whips should be banned in horse racing, considering the sport's history, current regulations, and conflicting perspectives on the topic.

Horse racing has a long history dating back to ancient times, with roots believed to trace back to Central Asia. Over the centuries it has spread globally and become a widely popular sport. Whips have been a longstanding element of horse racing, used to urge horses to run faster and demonstrate the jockey's control. In the 19th century, whips were typically made of leather with a metal handle and tip, serving both to strike and guide the horse.

Presently, regulations within the horse racing industry govern the appropriate use of whips by jockeys. These rules stipulate that whips should not be used excessively, improperly, or unnecessarily. Jockeys must avoid using excessive force, using the whip inappropriately, or using it when not needed. Furthermore, jockeys are only allowed to use the whip with one hand and are prohibited from striking the horse's head or neck.

Image Source: Midjourney

There are several arguments supporting the utilisation of whips in horse racing. One primary argument is that whips are necessary to motivate horses to increase their speed. Advocates of whip use insist that jockeys need this tool to optimise their horses' performance and that it is a humane method of urging them to run faster without causing harm.

Additionally, proponents of whip use argue that it is a longstanding tradition in horse racing, dating back centuries, and should be preserved as an integral part of the sport.

The use of whips in horse racing is controversial due to various arguments against it. One primary concern is the perceived cruelty and inhumane treatment inflicted on the horse, which can result in physical and psychological harm. Proponents of banning whips argue that it is necessary to safeguard the horse’s welfare.

Moreover, opponents believe that the use of whips provides jockeys with an unfair advantage by exerting excessive control over the horse. This can potentially influence race outcomes and lead to over-training and exhaustion, endangering the horse's well-being.

Are whips prohibited in horse racing? No, they are not. Horse racing rules regulate whips' use, ensuring they are used properly and not excessively. Despite ongoing debate, both advocates and opponents hold firm views on the issue.

The updated rules for racing, effective February 13, 2023 for Jump racing and March 27, 2023 for Flat racing, state that the whip can only be used a maximum of 6 times in a Flat race and 7 times in a Jump race. If the whip is used excessively, stewards will review the ride. The Whip Review Committee will assess the force of the whip, its height, the horse's response time, the purpose of its use, the horse's position, and its placement on the horse's hindquarters.Riders who violate the rules will face suspension, and those with three suspensions in six months will be penalised by the Judicial Panel. Using the whip four or more times above the limit will result in the disqualification of the horse and rider from the race.

Image Source: Midjourney

As an example, Britain's champion apprentice in 2021, Marco Ghiani is facing an extended period on the sidelines due to multiple whip rule violations. He has been given a ban, with nine days deferred and must complete a two-day training course. Ghiani has violated the whip rules for the fifth time in the past six months.

The former champion apprentice has achieved notable success in big races, including victories at Royal Ascot and in Group races. However, his career has been marred by a previous suspension for a positive drug test.

Another apprentice rider, Tommie Jakes, has also received a suspension with days deferred and a requirement to complete a training course before being able to ride again.

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