Whip rule meeting tomorrow

Mon, 20th Feb, 2012



(Healy Racing Photos)
Paul Bittar, the British Horseracing Authority's new chief executive, will on Tuesday outline plans to defuse the whip rule controversy before the Cheltenham Festival.

He will propose fresh amendments at a board meeting in a bid to prevent jumps racing's biggest meeting being overshadowed by the issue that has dogged the sport under both codes since last October.

"As Paul has already alluded to, the issues to be looked at are proportionality (of penalty to offence) and discretion in how it is implemented," said BHA spokesman John Maxse.

"The intention is address these issues before the Festival."

Nothing is expected to be finalised at the board meeting, which is the final summit scheduled before the Festival starts on March 13th.

However, it will still be possible to achieve the necessary agreement from a majority of the voting board once the details of the proposed amendments have been concluded.

"It will be a stretch beyond what is possible to have any proposal with i's dotted and t's crossed in place," Maxse added.

"The proposal is not in an advanced enough state for it to be signed off, but that does not mean that it cannot get through if everything is wholly approved."

Rules regarding use of the whip have been a continuing problem since the BHA introduced strict new regulations and penalties just a few days before Flat racing's new Champions Day at Ascot last October.

The BHA have been working with the jockeys and other stakeholders to find a mutual agreement, but the issue has not gone away.

Only last week 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy fell foul of the rules when handed a four-day ban after going one over the limit when forcing a dead-heat at Leicester.

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