Matt Chapman: Jockeys face bans when they haven’t even committed an offence – what is going on?

JOCKEYS will soon be banned even when they haven’t committed a riding offence.

I know, I know. But it’s true! Oh my…

Getty Images – GettyChappers has his say on controversial new whip rules[/caption]

Just as you think the British Horseracing Authority can’t cause more chaos over the whip rules – something else happens that just leaves one in utter despair.

The latest nonsensical decision comes over the marking of horses. Now, before anyone goes crazy here, horses occasionally get marked by the padded pro-cush whip. That doesn’t make it a welfare issue.

Horses are just like humans in that every single one of them will have different levels of tolerance and, therefore, will mark in different ways.

Some humans can brush their arm and get a bruise despite feeling nothing. Some have skin that will blush for no reason. It’s just how we are. It doesn’t mean we are necessarily in physical pain.


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As for horses, the marking of them by the whip is a rare occurrence, thankfully for all concerned.

Indeed, in 2022 there were no cases of any racehorse being marked by the whip in association with a riding offence that year.

It seems totally correct to me that if a jockey rides within the rules but their horse ends up marked – however small or large that mark might be – then there appears no reason to highlight the fact.

There should absolutely be no need to take any action against a rider. Oddly, this is about to all change.

Under new rules, a jockey will be suspended if their horse is ‘wealed’, irrespective of whether any other breach has been found. Jesus wept.

Now, we all want to be open about the Sport of the Kings, but highlighting a being horse marked by a rider, who has otherwise done nothing wrong, simply has no benefit at all.

To ban that rider even less so.

On the odd occasion it does happen, we all know that and everything is done to prevent it, but it’s not something that needs declaration.

Once again it’s another step down a slippery slope that racing’s leaders seem so keen to go down.

Many of them, however, will be gone from the sport when the rest of us are left trying to save it.

I’m told there were a few horses marked in 2022. There are a handful each year. They were not recorded and no penalties were handed out.

Under the new rules BHA will tell the world and ban the jockey for doing their job perfectly. Insanity.


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