Animal Aid

New Animal Aid investigation reveals horseracing whipping rules breached almost 900 times last year

Posted 4 March 2011

In the same week that Animal Aid publishes the results of a damning investigation revealing widespread, repeated and flagrant breaches of the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) rules on whipping, racing’s regulatory body has shown its true colours when it comes to horse welfare.

Jockey Jason Maguire yesterday (Thursday 3 March) appealed against the seven-day ban he had been served for hitting his mount, Cool Mission, with ‘excessive frequency’, and so hard that the horse came out in weals. The BHA agreed to reduce the suspension term by one day, thereby giving Maguire what he wanted: a chance to compete in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Despite the punishment he dished out to Cool Mission, the jockey appears to have offered no public statement of regret, and the horse’s trainer, Donald McCain, even blamed Cool Mission himself – calling him ‘notoriously lazy’.

The new Animal Aid investigation, called Beaten to the Line 2010, reveals that there were a staggering 887 breaches of the BHA’s rules in 2010, with an average of more than 17 incidents a week.

One of the horses who was whipped excessively collapsed and died immediately after the race in which he was abused.

Sixty horses were whipped excessively on more than one occasion, with four horses each abused three times (see Table C).

The evidence demonstrates that the BHA sanctions handed out to offending jockeys – usually consisting of a ban from racing of one or two days – fail to act as a meaningful disincentive.

Horses Wealed

There were 17 incidents in 2010 where horses were hit so hard by their riders that they were wealed (see Table A). One jockey, Joe Tizzard, was responsible for four of these assaults – two of them just two days apart. A horse, named Justabout, was wealed by Tizzard on two separate occasions.


Private Be, who was whipped with excessive frequency, and without being given time to respond, by rider TJ O’Brien on 1 January 2010, was abused again on 21 November 2010, this time by Richard Johnson. He finished in third place but collapsed and died after the race. Although Johnson was suspended for one day for using the whip with ‘excessive frequency’, as is traditional, he and his connections still retained the £5,520 winnings. A Thoroughbred named Cockney, who was wealed by Greg Fairley, died two races later. He was just three years old.

Repeat Offenders

Fifteen jockeys committed 10 or more offences over the course of the year (see Table B). David Allan and Andrew Heffernan – each of whom was responsible for 17 breaches of the whipping regulations in 2010 – head the offenders’ list.

Gross cynicism by jockeys towards the BHA regime is demonstrated by the following cases:

  • David Allan committed two whipping offences on the same day at the same racecourse (30 October, Ayr). He also broke the rules just three days prior to that race meeting. And in July, he breached the regulations on three consecutive days.
  • Andrew Heffernan accumulated a 57-day racing ban in 2010. In response to being handed down an uncharacteristically severe 21-day penalty in February, Heffernan offended again before the ban could take effect. And less than six weeks after the ban had expired, he broke the rules on two consecutive days (14 and 15 May), and twice on the same day at the same race meeting in December.

Other incidents that stood out as particularly shocking involved three other riders. On 30 October, John Fahy was found to have used excessive force on a horse called Zamina, who was just two years old. On 5 November, the stewards ruled that Mr M Ennis continued to whip a horse who was showing no response. In addition, he failed to pull up when his mount, The Green Hat, appeared to be exhausted. Another jockey, Ian Popham, was responsible for wealing two horses.

Says Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid Campaigner:

‘The BHA insists that it takes animal welfare seriously, yet it has shown its true colours this week by reducing the punishment handed out to Jason Maguire. The jockey hit Cool Mission so hard that the horse was wealed, but instead of offering a public apology for what he had done, it seems his only concern was that the racing ban would ruin his chances of riding in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. It is shameful that the BHA has so little regard for the abuse that was meted out to Cool Mission. Animal Aid’s new investigation does not record how frequently horses are actually whipped but how often the lax rules are breached. It is clear from the shockingly high number of offences, including the number of jockeys who have offended multiple times, that riders have no respect for the BHA’s whipping rule book.’

For more information:

  • Contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
  • An ISDN line is available for broadcast quality interviews

Notes to Editors:

  • A 2004 Animal Aid investigation, called A Hiding to Nothing, demonstrated that – cruelty issues aside – the use of the whip by jockeys does not improve their chances of winning. The survey comprised a meticulous investigation of 161 races run during October and November 2003, involving 285 jockeys and 1500 horses. Nearly 200 tables described how often and when in a race a whip was used.
  • The findings of Animal Aid’s 2004 whip survey (see above) have been reinforced by a new University of Sydney report which also concludes that whipping race horses does not improve performance. An Investigation of Racing Performance and Whip Use by Jockeys in Thoroughbred Races can be viewed at:

TABLE A: Names of the horses who were wealed in 2010

  1. Albert Park (IRE) wealed on 30 July 2010 by Anthony Freeman
  2. Autumn Red (IRE) wealed on 5 September 2010 by Sam Jones
  3. Cannington Brook (IRE) wealed on 13 November 2010 by Joe Tizzard
  4. Cave Of The Giant wealed on 10 August 2010 by Joe Tizzard
  5. Cockney wealed (on his second ever race) on 16 June 2010 by Greg Fairley. The horse subsequently died two races later, at the age of just three.
  6. Days Of Pleasure wealed on 22 April 2010 by Mr TJ Cannon
  7. Duke Of Malfi wealed on 6 March 2010 by Tom Scudamore
  8. Higgy’s Boy (IRE) wealed on 10 December 2010 by David Bass
  9. Justabout wealed on 6 June 2010 by Joe Tizzard
  10. Justabout wealed on 11 November 2010 by Joe Tizzard
  11. Mighty Moose wealed on 30 April 2010 by Ian Popham
  12. Mr Big (IRE) wealed on 31 December 2010 by Peter Toole
  13. Mr Parson (IRE) wealed on 29 March 2010 by Mattie Batchelor
  14. Red Ringa wealed on 13 April 2010 by Mr Sam Painting
  15. Rosie All Over wealed on 5 May 2010 by Jason Maguire
  16. Royal Rosa wealed on 20 January 2010 by Denis O’Regan
  17. Young Tot wealed on 31 August 2010 by Ian Popham*
  18. *The horse wealed by Ian Popham on 31 August may have been called Le Forezien (FR). The information on the BHA’s website conflicts with that posted on the Racing Post’s website.

    TABLE B: Jockeys who accrued the most whipping offences (10 or more)

    Jockey first nameJockey surnameNumber of offencesNumber of days suspensionNumber of cautions
    David Allan 17 12 8
    Andrew Heffernan 17 57 4
    Alan Munro 15 18 4
    Chris Catlin 14 17 4
    John Fahy 13 22 1
    Barry McHugh 13 24 3
    Robert Winston 13 13 4
    William Carson 12 28 2
    David Probert 12 10 4
    Hayley Turner 12 16 2
    Paul Hanagan 11 15 3
    Adam Kirby 11 14 3
    P J McDonald 11 12 5
    William Buick 10 14 5
    Brian Hughes 10 11 4

    TABLE C: Horses abused more than once during 2010

    Date of incident Name of horse
    17/04/2010 Advanced
    28/08/2010 Advanced
    05/02/2010Ahlawy (IRE)
    15/10/2010Ahlawy (IRE)
    21/01/2010 All Guns Firing (IRE)
    14/04/2010 All Guns Firing (IRE)
    02/01/2010Anjomarba (IRE)
    23/01/2010 Anjomarba (IRE)
    01/08/2010 Arabian Star (IRE)
    11/09/2010 Arabian Star (IRE)
    20/03/2010 Arganil (USA)
    11/09/2010Arganil (USA)
    05/09/2010Autumn Red (IRE)
    07/10/2010Autumn Red (IRE)
    13/08/2010Bahamian Music (IRE)
    31/10/2010Bahamian Music (IRE)
    16/04/2010Bathwick Bear (IRE)
    30/08/2010Bathwick Bear (IRE)
    05/03/2010Bristol Delauriere (FR)
    08/04/2010Bristol Delauriere (FR)
    06/09/2010Call Of Duty (IRE)
    21/09/2010Call Of Duty (IRE)
    01/06/2010Comedy Act
    22/10/2010Comedy Act
    27/04/2010Diamond Johnny G (USA)
    09/07/2010Diamond Johnny G (USA)
    07/06/2010Dickie Le Davoir
    04/12/2010Dickie Le Davoir
    18/02/2010Doc Row (IRE)
    28/03/2010Doc Row (IRE)
    25/02/2010Dunaskin (IRE)
    09/03/2010Dunaskin (IRE)
    02/06/2010Exceedingly Good (IRE)
    13/07/2010Exceedingly Good (IRE)
    28/09/2010Fifth Ave
    04/10/2010Fifth Ave
    15/07/2010Francis Albert
    03/12/2010Francis Albert
    04/02/2010Full Toss
    09/04/2010Full Toss
    21/05/2010Green Park (IRE)
    16/07/2010Green Park (IRE)
    03/07/2010Hazelrigg (IRE)
    24/07/2010Hazelrigg (IRE)
    15/05/2010Humidor (IRE)
    09/10/2010Humidor (IRE)
    15/08/2010Lava Lamp (GER)
    18/10/2010Lava Lamp (GER)
    26/06/2010Leiba Leiba
    09/07/2010Leiba Leiba
    10/02/2010Little Pete (IRE)
    25/02/2010Little Pete (IRE)
    24/04/2010Lost in Paris (IRE)
    11/05/2010Lost in Paris (IRE)
    27/07/2010Marblehead (IRE)
    26/09/2010Marblehead (IRE)
    24/06/2010Maybe I Wont
    18/07/2010Maybe I Wont
    29/03/2010Mr Parson (IRE)
    26/04/2010Mr Parson (IRE)
    16/06/2010Mr Rooney (IRE)
    21/07/2010Mr Rooney (IRE)
    04/04/2010My Arch
    29/05/2010My Arch
    22/12/2010My Arch
    09/08/2010Out Of Nothing
    22/10/2010Out Of Nothing
    19/02/2010Paktolos (FR)
    23/07/2010Paktolos (FR)
    15/03/2010Penny Doc (IRE)
    19/03/2010Penny Doc (IRE)
    22/07/2010Perfect Silence
    13/08/2010Perfect Silence
    20/10/2010Present To You (IRE)
    05/11/2010Present To You (IRE)
    01/01/2010Private Be
    21/11/2010Private Be - Collapsed and died after the race
    23/06/2010Red River Boy
    15/07/2010Red River Boy
    22/07/2010Resurge (IRE)
    02/10/2010Resurge (IRE)
    03/04/2010Rosie All Over
    05/05/2010Rosie All Over
    12/02/2010Rubi Dia
    10/12/2010Rubi Dia
    17/05/2010Silver Wind
    21/09/2010Silver Wind
    06/02/2010Sir Harry Ormesher
    08/04/2010Sir Harry Ormesher
    08/02/2010Spinning Ridge (IRE)
    25/04/2010Spinning Ridge (IRE)
    09/10/2010Tifoso (FR) - Now deceased
    08/12/2010Tifoso (FR) - Now deceased
    25/08/2010Tobernea (IRE)
    19/09/2010Tobernea (IRE)

Send this page to a friend

Read about how we treat your data: privacy policy.

© Copyright Animal Aid 2014