RUBY WALSH has reacted with dismay after the British Horseracing Authority yesterday rejected his appeal against the five-day ban he picked up at Aintree last month.
Walsh was ruled by the local stewards to have used his whip nine times when winning on the Paul Nicholls-trained Edgardo Sol, once more than allowed under the new rules.
Walsh had been adamant one of his 'strikes' down the neck was used as a corrective measure on approach to a fence, but the BHA disciplinary panel upheld the decision of the Aintree officials and the five-day ban stands.
"We argued the slap down the shoulder on the approach to the last was corrective and for safety," said Walsh.
"They accepted it was corrective but not for safety, so they overturned the appeal.
"I believe that correction is safety, he was changing legs and on an off-fore lead going to the last and if I had met it on the wrong stride, I would have jumped in front of Sam Twiston-Davies' horse.
"They viewed it differently to me and I got a five-day ban for it.
"They asked me what else I could have done, I said that's what I've always done and what anyone who rides a horse does.
"They asked me if I was aware of the rules. I think everyone is well aware of what the rules are but in my eyes it was corrective.
"Rory Mac Neice (Walsh's solicitor) did an excellent job, but the BHA and the stewards on the day viewed it a certain way and that was that."
A further breach of the rules would see Walsh handed a 10-day ban, and he said: "It's a fair cloud to have hanging over you. I just think the rules are unfair and are way too stringent and way too strict.
"Common sense has to come into it and the BHA have to look again. The rules are far too tight.
"I'm not into numbers. Every case is individual, it's a grey area that people are trying to make black and white. If seven is acceptable in a five-furlong race how can eight be acceptable in a jumps race. It's bizarre.
"I honestly believe the situation will get worse before it gets better. Bans will start to mount up, people will end up doing what I did -- instinctively doing something to correct a horse that is not allowed and walk into five-day and 10-day bans.
"I didn't deliberately break the rules in Aintree, I counted to eight but the instinctive slap down the shoulder got me in trouble.
"I don't think it's impossible but it's very difficult. It's only a matter of time before more people infringe the rules."