Almost 50% increase in whip offences in 2023

Posted on the 19th July 2023

Jockeys have broken the whip regulations in racing nearly 50% more this year than last year. Figures compiled by Animal Aid show that during the first six months of 2023, there were 370 incidents of rule breaking by jockeys, compared with 248 for the same period in 2022 – an increase of 49.2%.

New whip regulations brought in earlier this year mean that jockeys are allowed one less whip strike in both Jump and Flat racing than previously permitted, and that breaches of the whip regulations are now considered and acted on by a Whip Review Committee. However, despite a bedding-in period, jockeys are still hitting their horses more times than the rules allow, in the wrong place or without allowing their horses time to respond.

Additionally, two horses have been wealed by the whip this year, three jockeys have had their ride disqualified for using the whip inappropriately and eight jockeys have been referred to the Disciplinary Panel for repeated whip breaches in a six-month period.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

“Jockeys have complained that the new rules are unworkable – but they said exactly the same the last time the rules were amended. It seems that, for many jockeys, hitting horses with a stick is acceptable behaviour and they’d rather take a penalty than try to rein in abusive behaviour.

“The racing industry, after the recent Whip Review, failed to take the action that is really needed – a total ban on the use of the whip for so-called encouragement so that the whip may be carried only for incidents when safety is at risk.

“No amount of tinkering with the rules will stop jockeys beating horses – and hopefully the Whip Review Committee are finally able to see for themselves the awful reality of how these beautiful, gentle animals are being punished for trying their best.

“Surely now they will side with public opinion and ban the whip for good?”


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