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

Posted on the 4th 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*

*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
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
05/02/2010 Ahlawy (IRE)
15/10/2010 Ahlawy (IRE)
21/01/2010 All Guns Firing (IRE)
14/04/2010 All Guns Firing (IRE)
02/01/2010 Anjomarba (IRE)
23/01/2010 Anjomarba (IRE)
01/08/2010 Arabian Star (IRE)
11/09/2010 Arabian Star (IRE)
20/03/2010 Arganil (USA)
11/09/2010 Arganil (USA)
15/07/2010 Ashbrittle
22/10/2010 Ashbrittle
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)
01/06/2010 Comedy Act
22/10/2010 Comedy Act
17/06/2010 Dandino
27/07/2010 Dandino
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)
25/02/2010 Dunaskin (IRE)
09/03/2010 Dunaskin (IRE)
13/01/2010 Equinity
24/09/2010 Equinity
02/06/2010 Exceedingly Good (IRE)
13/07/2010 Exceedingly Good (IRE)
28/09/2010 Fifth Ave
04/10/2010 Fifth Ave
15/07/2010 Francis Albert
03/12/2010 Francis Albert
04/02/2010 Full Toss
09/04/2010 Full Toss
21/05/2010 Green Park (IRE)
16/07/2010 Green Park (IRE)
28/03/2010 Greenandredparson
05/05/2010 Greenandredparson
03/07/2010 Hazelrigg (IRE)
24/07/2010 Hazelrigg (IRE)
14/09/2010 Horseradish
06/11/2010 Horseradish
15/05/2010 Humidor (IRE)
09/10/2010 Humidor (IRE)
06/06/2010 Justabout
11/11/2010 Justabout
25/11/2010 Justabout
15/08/2010 Lava Lamp (GER)
18/10/2010 Lava Lamp (GER)
26/06/2010 Leiba Leiba
09/07/2010 Leiba Leiba
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)
27/07/2010 Marblehead (IRE)
26/09/2010 Marblehead (IRE)
28/05/2010 Masterofceremonies
27/07/2010 Masterofceremonies
21/09/2010 Masterofceremonies
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)
04/04/2010 My Arch
29/05/2010 My Arch
22/12/2010 My Arch
24/08/2010 Osgood
04/10/2010 Osgood
22/10/2010 Osgood
09/08/2010 Out Of Nothing
22/10/2010 Out Of Nothing
19/02/2010 Paktolos (FR)
23/07/2010 Paktolos (FR)
01/09/2010 Paphos
01/10/2010 Paphos
15/03/2010 Penny Doc (IRE)
19/03/2010 Penny Doc (IRE)
22/07/2010 Perfect Silence
13/08/2010 Perfect Silence
20/10/2010 Present To You (IRE)
05/11/2010 Present To You (IRE)
01/01/2010 Private Be
21/11/2010 Private Be – Collapsed and died after the race
23/06/2010 Red River Boy
15/07/2010 Red River Boy
22/07/2010 Resurge (IRE)
02/10/2010 Resurge (IRE)
17/08/2010 Rockweiller
24/09/2010 Rockweiller
03/04/2010 Rosie All Over
05/05/2010 Rosie All Over
12/02/2010 Rubi Dia
10/12/2010 Rubi Dia
05/05/2010 Saujana
19/05/2010 Saujana
17/05/2010 Silver Wind
21/09/2010 Silver Wind
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
25/08/2010 Tobernea (IRE)
19/09/2010 Tobernea (IRE)
22/06/2010 Umverti
04/08/2010 Umverti
14/08/2010 Witchry
29/08/2010 Witchry

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