Soumillon agent claims whip rules 'health and safety issue'
The raging controversy over the new whip regulations is unlikely to go away just yet, even if the British Horseracing Authority comes up with a compromise solution to jockeys' proposals by Friday.
Yesterday, Christophe Soumillon was informed that his appeal against losing his £53,000 winning percentage and his riding fee, as well as being suspended after Saturday's Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot, is to be heard in London next week.
This will be one of the most interesting appeal cases in recent times, as Soumillon is expected to argue that he gave his mount Cirrus Des Aigles one too many hits inside the final furlong because he was unable to clearly see the one-furlong marker owing to the sponsors' branding.
Shippy Ellis, Soumillon's British agent, has been outspoken on the issue, strongly expressing the view that when a jockey is under pressure at the furlong pole, just as the race is coming to a climax, he should not be distracted by having to start searching for an identification pole inside the running rail.
"It could pose a danger to other horses and riders, and is almost a health and safety issue," he said.
Also on next week's BHA disciplinary agenda is Richard Hughes' appeal against the five-day ban he received for his ride on Swift Blade at Salisbury last -- the day the new regulations came into force.
This, too, was triggered by the jockey using the whip too many times inside the final furlong, and Hughes has since handed in his licence, having received another whip ban two days later.
Nine National Hunt jockeys head to BHA headquarters today to hear their appeals against being banned for failing to pull up after a race had been stopped at Wetherby last week. The nine -- Tony McCoy, Graham Lee, Paddy Brennan, Danny Cook, Jonathon Bewley, Denis O'Regan, Alexander Voy, Brian Hughes and Brian Toomey -- were suspended for 10 days for ignoring a yellow flag.
Meanwhile, Joseph O'Brien is likely to partner hot favourite Camelot in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday. Ryan Moore, who is understood to have indicated his readiness to make Ballydoyle his first commitment next year, remains retained by Michael Stoute and will ride the promising Tales Of Grimm at Newbury on the same afternoon.
Trainer Roger Varian said yesterday that Farraaj is likely to be among Camelot's opponents and he also indicated that Nahrain could take her unbeaten record to the Breeders' Cup meeting following her success on Prix de l'Arc day.
"She has come out of her race in France very well, and the Filly and Mare Turf is something we are considering," he said. "It's far from concrete, and we don't have to confirm until Monday, but there would be nothing in the filly herself to discourage us."
(© Daily Telegraph, London)