CONTROLLING body France Galop has announced that jockeys in France will have less use of the whip when new rules come into force next month. Under the new rules, the maximum number of strikes with the whip will be reduced from eight to six, beginning on February 1. The current limit has been in place since 2005 when it was reduced from 10.
Jockeys are not allowed to raise the whip above the shoulder and there are stricter penalties on apprentices and amateurs with an automatic one-day ban for second infractions within six months.
Jockeys in the UK are allowed seven strikes in flat races and eight over jumps, while in Ireland officials will usually hold an inquiry if a jockey goes above 12 strikes.
In South Africa, whips are referred to as “crops” and SA Jockeys’ Association Chairman Tex Lerena commented: “We at SAJA had a soft, padded crop approved by the NHRA about eight years ago. The rules do not specify any number of strikes, it states that no rider shall misuse his crop or use it in an unnecessary or excessive manner, or use the crop on any part of a horse’s head.
“We have had the occasional suspension since then when there have been marks left on horses or clear, excessive use of the crop evident in the race replays, but our jockeys have adhered to using their crops correctly, they’ve followed the stipulations.”
In Australia, debates about whip use have raged for several weeks and journalist Steve Moran opined recently that a complete whip ban looks inevitable.