Monday, January 23, 2023

Matt Chapman: Jockeys get banned for not even committing an offense – what’s up?

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JOCKEYS will soon be banned even if they have not committed a riding offense.

I know, I know. But it is true! Oh my…

Just as one might think that the British Horseracing Authority cannot wreak any more havoc over the whip rules, another thing happens that only drives one to despair.

The latest nonsensical decision concerns the identification of horses. Now, before anyone gets mad here, horses are occasionally flagged by the padded Pro-Cush whip. That doesn’t make it a welfare issue.

Horses are just like humans in that each one of them has different levels of tolerance and therefore marks in different ways.

Some people can brush their arm and get a bruise without feeling anything. Some have skin that turns red for no reason. That’s just how we are. This does not mean that we necessarily have physical pain.

With horses, whip marking is a rare occurrence, luckily for all involved.

In fact, in 2022 there were no instances of a racehorse being whip-marked in connection with a riding offense that year.

It seems perfectly true to me that when a jockey rides within the Rules but his horse is marked – however small or large that mark is – there is no need to emphasize the fact.

There should be absolutely no need to take action against a driver. Oddly enough, that’s all about to change.

Under the new rules, a jockey will be suspended if his horse is ‘ridden’, regardless of whether another infraction has been found. Jesus wept.

Now we all want to be frank about the sport of kings, but there’s just no use emphasizing a rider-set personality who hasn’t otherwise done anything wrong.

To ban this driver even less.

It does happen occasionally, we all know that, and everything is done to prevent it, but it’s not something that needs to be declared.

Once again, it’s another step down a slippery slope that race officials seem to want so badly.

However, many of them will leave the sport as the rest of us try to save it.

I was told that in 2022 some horses were tagged. There are a handful each year. They were not registered and no penalties were imposed.

Under the new rules, BHA will inform the world and ban the jockey for doing his job perfectly. Insanity.

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