Hayley Turner: I wouldn't have broken whip rules if punishments were tougher
Hayley Turner has admitted the prospect of a two or three-month suspension would have been enough to deter her from breaking the whip rules aboard her historic Royal Ascot winner Thanks Be in the Sandringham.
Turner went over the limit of seven strikes on the Flat by four as she became only the second female jockey and first in 32 years to ride a winner at the royal meeting, leading to a nine-day suspension and £1,600 fine.
Thanks Be's trainer Charlie Fellowes revealed in a Racing Post column this week his belief that his first Royal Ascot winner should have been disqualified, although Turner took a different view.
She said: "I think Charlie has a point but I don’t entirely agree with the horse losing the race. I’ve discussed it with loads of people and feel it certainly would have taken a harsher penalty for me not to have gone over the limit at Ascot.
"It might be good for the horse not to lose the race but for the jockey to receive a more severe ban.
"If there was the prospect of a two or three-month ban I wouldn't have done it because it’s the middle of the season and I have a mortgage to pay and it wouldn't have been worth it for a Royal Ascot handicap."
Speaking as part of the ITV Racing team on the opening day of Newmarket's July festival, Turner added: "I had no idea I had gone over the whip limit and I think it was a bit of 'Ascot fever'.
"It didn’t occur to me at the time as I was caught in the limelight immediately afterwards, but when I went in the weighing room and the stewards wanted to speak to me I soon realised why."
Wiltshire, taking bets at Newmarket on Thursday, said: “It's a nice idea from a welfare point of view to disqualify runners for overuse of the whip, but I don't really know how they can run it.
“We move a mile a minute in this game and it's got the potential to wreak havoc. It was likened to VAR the other day and I think they're spot on."
He added: "It's all about timing in racing and we'll end up with races going off 10-15 minutes late, which creates a logistical nightmare, especially on busy Saturdays.
"We're all about the quick turnaround and, at a big meeting, it's got the potential to cause all sorts of problems for us."
Newmarket racegoers James Baldwin and Ben Richardson shared different views on the debate, with Baldwin against disqualification and Richardson in favour.
Baldwin said: "I feel the horse shouldn’t lose the race as it’s unfair on the owners. It’s a tricky one but the jockey is ultimately the one at fault."
Richardson, taking a similar stance to Fellowes, said: "The horse should be disqualified as you shouldn’t be able to win if breaking the rules. Fewer jockeys would go over the limit if the punishment was greater.”
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