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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.
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.
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: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015622
TABLE A: Names of the horses who were wealed in 2010
- Albert Park (IRE) wealed on 30 July 2010 by Anthony Freeman
- Autumn Red (IRE) wealed on 5 September 2010 by Sam Jones
- Cannington Brook (IRE) wealed on 13 November 2010 by Joe Tizzard
- Cave Of The Giant wealed on 10 August 2010 by Joe Tizzard
- 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.
- Days Of Pleasure wealed on 22 April 2010 by Mr TJ Cannon
- Duke Of Malfi wealed on 6 March 2010 by Tom Scudamore
- Higgy’s Boy (IRE) wealed on 10 December 2010 by David Bass
- Justabout wealed on 6 June 2010 by Joe Tizzard
- Justabout wealed on 11 November 2010 by Joe Tizzard
- Mighty Moose wealed on 30 April 2010 by Ian Popham
- Mr Big (IRE) wealed on 31 December 2010 by Peter Toole
- Mr Parson (IRE) wealed on 29 March 2010 by Mattie Batchelor
- Red Ringa wealed on 13 April 2010 by Mr Sam Painting
- Rosie All Over wealed on 5 May 2010 by Jason Maguire
- Royal Rosa wealed on 20 January 2010 by Denis O’Regan
- Young Tot wealed on 31 August 2010 by Ian Popham*
*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 name||Jockey surname||Number of offences||Number of days suspension||Number of cautions|
TABLE C: Horses abused more than once during 2010
|Date of incident||Name of horse|
|21/01/2010||All Guns Firing (IRE)|
|14/04/2010||All Guns Firing (IRE)|
|01/08/2010||Arabian Star (IRE)|
|11/09/2010||Arabian Star (IRE)|
|05/09/2010||Autumn Red (IRE)|
|07/10/2010||Autumn Red (IRE)|
|13/08/2010||Bahamian Music (IRE)|
|31/10/2010||Bahamian Music (IRE)|
|16/04/2010||Bathwick Bear (IRE)|
|30/08/2010||Bathwick Bear (IRE)|
|05/03/2010||Bristol Delauriere (FR)|
|08/04/2010||Bristol Delauriere (FR)|
|06/09/2010||Call Of Duty (IRE)|
|21/09/2010||Call Of Duty (IRE)|
|27/04/2010||Diamond Johnny G (USA)|
|09/07/2010||Diamond Johnny G (USA)|
|07/06/2010||Dickie Le Davoir|
|04/12/2010||Dickie Le Davoir|
|18/02/2010||Doc Row (IRE)|
|28/03/2010||Doc Row (IRE)|
|02/06/2010||Exceedingly Good (IRE)|
|13/07/2010||Exceedingly Good (IRE)|
|21/05/2010||Green Park (IRE)|
|16/07/2010||Green Park (IRE)|
|15/08/2010||Lava Lamp (GER)|
|18/10/2010||Lava Lamp (GER)|
|10/02/2010||Little Pete (IRE)|
|25/02/2010||Little Pete (IRE)|
|24/04/2010||Lost in Paris (IRE)|
|11/05/2010||Lost in Paris (IRE)|
|24/06/2010||Maybe I Wont|
|18/07/2010||Maybe I Wont|
|29/03/2010||Mr Parson (IRE)|
|26/04/2010||Mr Parson (IRE)|
|16/06/2010||Mr Rooney (IRE)|
|21/07/2010||Mr Rooney (IRE)|
|09/08/2010||Out Of Nothing|
|22/10/2010||Out Of Nothing|
|15/03/2010||Penny Doc (IRE)|
|19/03/2010||Penny Doc (IRE)|
|20/10/2010||Present To You (IRE)|
|05/11/2010||Present To You (IRE)|
|21/11/2010||Private Be - Collapsed and died after the race|
|23/06/2010||Red River Boy|
|15/07/2010||Red River Boy|
|03/04/2010||Rosie All Over|
|05/05/2010||Rosie All Over|
|06/02/2010||Sir Harry Ormesher|
|08/04/2010||Sir Harry Ormesher|
|08/02/2010||Spinning Ridge (IRE)|
|25/04/2010||Spinning Ridge (IRE)|
|09/10/2010||Tifoso (FR) - Now deceased|
|08/12/2010||Tifoso (FR) - Now deceased|