The Telegraph reports that Towcester has pre-empted the whip review currently being conducted by the BHA and banned the conventional use of whips.
From the track’s meeting on Oct 5 and at all fixtures afterwards, every race staged at the course will be run under rules currently in place for the successful ‘hands and heels’ series of races.
This series, run in conjunction with the British and Northern racing schools, is staged at a number of tracks both Flat and jumping, and is ostensibly to teach inexperienced jockeys and amateur riders how to get the best out of a horse without recourse to the whip.
One of the rules of that series is that jockeys must carry a whip. They can pull it through from one hand to the other as often as they like and hit a horse down the shoulder with it in a backhand position. However, they cannot smack a horse down the neck in the forehand position, behind the saddle or encourage it by waving the whip parallel to its head. Failure to obey the rules in this series results in automatic disqualification. After Oct 5th, any winner at Towcester whose jockey is found by the stewards to be in breach of these rules will be disqualified.
On hearing the news, the BHA’s head of communications, Paul Struthers said, “We are already conducting a review into our rules and whip use in racing. We have only just received Towcester’s proposal and will need to consider it before discussing it with them.”