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BHA decide against whip borrowing rule

JASON MCKEOWN'S controversial decision to 'borrow' another rider's whip during a race at Cheltenham's Open meeting in November has notpersuaded the BHA to introduce a rule outlawing the manoeuvre.

Hoopy - Jason McKeown - Cheltenham - November 2008

Whip: Jason McKeown and Hoopy

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Instead the regulator is satisfied a similar incident in future would fall under the category of 'improper riding' for which the Irish amateur was given a two-day ban following his victory aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Hoopy.

The seven-year-old could return to Britain this weekend for the first time since that success as he holds an entry for the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwickon Saturday, but Elliott plans to consult course officials about the prospects of the meeting surviving the big freeze before making any travel arrangements.

Following McKeown's opportunism at Prestbury Park in taking the whip of rival Donal Devereux on the tiring King Harald before the third-last fence, BHA spokesman Paul Struthers admitted the move was not specifically banned in the rules, and said the Shaftesbury Avenue authorities would look into whether the matter required addressing.

 At the time, Christopher Massey, a member of the Six Blokes syndicate, expressed dismay that their runner-up, Alexanderthegreat, was not awarded the race, although he accepted the stewards had their hands tied by the rule-book.

Struthers said: "On the question of whip borrowing, we spoke to both the National Trainers' Federation and the Professional Jockeys' Association who agreed with the view held here that the offence is covered by improper riding, and that there was no need to bring in a specific rule bearing in mind how rare an event it is."

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