The following story from Racing Post provides an interesting scenario, as well as plenty of food for thought . It certainly got me thinking about our own rules and how they are applied – tt.

The “toothless” penalties for overuse of the whip are set to be legally challenged by leading owner Kulbir Sohi, who believes disqualification is the only means to rigorously ensure all jockeys ride within the rules.

Sohi said on Monday that he had appealed the result of the £75,000 Coral Sprint Trophy at York in which his horse Tranchee (in red above), the 9-2 favourite trained by David Loughnane, finished second to Gulliver, ridden by Martin Harley.

Harley, who received £3,268 in prize-money for the victory, was fined £1,350 and suspended for nine days after using his whip 12 times on Gulliver inside the final two furlongs, five strikes above the maximum of seven permitted in a Flat race.

However, Sohi is adamant that the penalties are an insufficient deterrent against misuse of the whip and stronger measures are needed to protect the “integrity of the sport”.

“To overuse the whip to my eye is performance enhancing,” he said. “If the horse had been given performance enhancing drugs then this wouldn’t even be a conversation, but having a performance enhancing use of the whip – and the horse is clearly responding to the whip – then it should be the same argument.

“There’s no deterrent there for riders and if [Harley] felt he was on the best horse in the race why would he need to use the whip more than the rules allow? We won the race within the rules and he has gained an advantage to win the race, so it’s had a material impact. They’re toothless at the moment the rules – they’re a joke.

“As long as everyone had played by the rules I’d accept the defeat all day long, but we all have to play by the same rules.”

A legal team representing Sohi has been instructed to look into the validity of the rules and penalties around overuse of the whip, with the owner, who has had 24 individual runners in his colours this year, calling for disqualification when the rules are breached.

“You have to disqualify these horses and place them last,” he said. “I have emailed the BHA
letting them know that I’m going to appeal the result and I have also spoken to my legal guys about this – and challenging both is equally as important.

“If I can prevent this from happening again to someone else as it means [the BHA] introduce disqualification, even if it’s one strike over the limit, then that’s the way it has to be.”

He added: “If this isn’t stopped how many other races are going to go this way? I think we’re talking about the integrity of the sport here. Do I say to my jockeys now, ‘ignore the rules, do what you have to do to win the race and I don’t want to hear excuses’? Why have rules if there is no deterrent if they’re broken? It’s the injustice of it all.”

A planned consultation into the whip this year was postponed by the BHA in the spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the review instead moved to the start of 2021.

On Monday, the regulator stated it was keen for input from racing’s participants over the
forthcoming review, which was recommended by the Horse Welfare Board.

A spokesman said: “The BHA has committed to undertake a consultation regarding the use of the whip in British racing, as per the recommendations of the Horse Welfare Board’s strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing.

“That project was placed temporarily on hold while the sport has diverted its time and resources to the management of the coronavirus pandemic, and the BHA Board has agreed that the consultation should be instead carried out in 2021.

“We would very much welcome the views of Mr Sohi as part of that consultation and encourage him to submit a response. In the meantime we would be happy to speak to Mr Sohi to discuss his concerns.”

Martin Harley declined to comment when contacted by the Racing Post. (

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Cape chief stipe Ernie Rodrigues was happy to elaborate on the local situation.

“We allow twelve strikes over the entire race, but no more than three in consecutive strides. Regarding penalties there are a number of factors taken into

“We look at the rider’s past record, the manner in which the crop was used, the number of strikes over the limit, and the type of race.”

(This year’s Vodacom July was an example of the latter, as Richard Fourie received a suspension of a week for striking Belgarion seventeen times)

“Sometimes a first offence will be a warning, then progressive fines. A rider’s record over the last sixty days is taken into consideration.”    – tt.