Friday 23 March 2018

McCoy: Jockeys were misled

Marcus Armytage

THE whip row intensified yesterday when AP McCoy and Frankie Dettori accused the British Horseracing Authority of misleading them when the jockeys originally endorsed the new rules.

When the rules were revealed on Tuesday, September 27, almost a fortnight before they were introduced, part of the fanfare included Britain's two best-known jockeys giving their unequivocal support.

Both were quoted by the BHA as saying the changes were in the "best interests of the sport".

However, McCoy revealed yesterday that he had only been informed about the new rules over the phone on the Sunday night prior to them being published, and that he had been told Dettori had signed up to them, and it would be a good idea if he did too.

He also said that at that stage, he was unaware of the full extent of penalties for breaches -- particularly minor breaches -- of the new rules.

Had they and the Professional Jockeys Association been given time to consider the full implications and practical consequences of the rules and penalties, they argued, they would not have given the quotes.

In yesterday's joint statement, McCoy and Dettori said: "In hindsight we would like to have given more consideration to the new rules before commenting. We didn't give them properly informed approval and we really wish that the BHA would stop saying that we did."

After the much-publicised appearance by a group of top jockeys, which included McCoy, Dettori and Richard Hughes -- who has quit riding over the matter "until further notice" -- at a BHA board meeting on Monday last, the PJA, headed by former jockey Kevin Darley, have been told to expect a reply from the reconvened whip review group by "the end of the week".

That meeting between the BHA and the PJA averted a strike, but there is renewed pressure from increasingly impatient riders for a strike as soon as next Monday if the rules are not changed.

The most obvious and easiest concession for the BHA or the review group to make is to drop the part of the rule which stipulates that a horse can be hit only five times in the last furlong on the Flat.

That has proved unworkable and it is telling that of the 23 whip bans handed out since the rules came in 10 days ago, 19 have been for excessive use and 10 of those have taken place inside the last furlong or after the last fence.

Irish Independent

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