BHA ready to toughen penalties for modified whips after horse is marked
The BHA is ready to toughen penalties for the use of modified whips after jockey Danny Brock was banned for seven days for marking a horse with one at Chelmsford.
Raceday stewards fined Brock £140, the standard penalty, for using a whip with two elastic bands around its end when on board the Charlie McBride-trained Resurrected in the Moving Made Easy Classified Stakes on September 19.
Resurrected had been backed into 10-1 from 25-1 on course. When asked, the BHA did not rule out whether betting patterns were being investigated.
A spokesman said: "The BHA cannot comment on ongoing investigations or speculation surrounding possible investigations."
The three-year-old filly was later found to have "minor weals" on her skin in a second check by the officiating vet at Chelmsford, when Brock had already left the course.
An independent BHA disciplinary panel last month considered this further aspect of the case and replaced Brock's initial penalty with a seven-day suspension.
Reviewing the case, BHA chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea said: "The use of modified whips is not something that can be tolerated. The rules of racing are clear on this and the welfare of our horses is our primary concern. There have been no other cases identified of modified whips being used in a number of years.
"We have not yet received the independent panel's written reasons for their decision and are therefore unable to comment on this or the penalty they have issued.
"However, the BHA feels that the standard penalties for an offence of this nature do not seem sufficient and will address this specifically when considering the Horse Welfare Board’s broader research and recommendations regarding the whip."
Dunshea said the seven-day suspension was above the standard five-day penalty for minor weals, and added: "In summary, the offence was identified and dealt with by the stewards and disciplinary panel in line with – and indeed above – the existing penalty framework.
"Whether that penalty framework remains appropriate is another matter and one that we have decided to take a look at.”
Whips are checked on a random basis by the clerk of the scales at racecourses but the BHA will now step up checks of equipment when jockeys weigh out and in.
The BHA said only two horses had suffered wealing to their skin from the whip in 2019 and in the previous three years there had only been two other cases in a period that covered 270,000 runners.
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