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Hughes set to miss QIPCO British Champions Day

14 Oct 2011

The fallout over the introduction of the new whip rules this week continues with the news that Richard Hughes has handed in his jockey's licence after incurring a second ban at Kempton Park last night.

Richard Hughes looks set to miss his five rides on QIPCO British Champions Day.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

As the fallout from the introduction of the new whip rules continues to dominate the racing headlines, jockey Richard Hughes has handed in his licence for the time being after incurring his second ban of the week at Kempton Park last night.

He was deemed to have struck his mount, More Than Words, six times in the final furlong with the cushion whip that jockeys use to guard against any pain being inflicted on a horse, one more than the new rules allow.

Introduced on Monday, the rules now stipulate that a jockey can only use the whip seven times in a race, including only five times inside the final furlong.

Hughes therefore picked up another five day ban to add to the one he received in similar circumstances at Salisbury on Monday.

The bans do not come into effect until later in the month, but having handed in his licence, it means that Hughes is set to miss his five QIPCO British Champions Day mounts at Ascot tomorrow.

They are Polly’s Mark in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at 1.50pm, Libranno in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint at 2.25pm, outsider Bolivia in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at 3pm, Dick Turpin in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 3.35pm and Casamento in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at 4.10pm.

The British Horseracing Authority, which introduced the new rules after extensive consultation over a period of ten months, has agreed to listen to the concerns of all jockeys through ongoing dialogue with the Professional Jockeys’ Association (PJA).

Kevin Darley, chief executive of the PJA, said: "The PJA is preparing a paper for the BHA that will outline our observations about how the new rules are working in practice during the first week.

"Jockeys as a group welcome the move towards greater clarity in the amended rules. Jockeys understand too how important it is that the sport conveys the correct message about horse welfare to the public.

"What they do have concerns about, however, are the new penalties for infringements of the rules. The PJA thinks that aspect needs to be looked at again, and we look forward to further discussions with the BHA."

It is unfortunate timing that this should have happened in the week leading up to the richest raceday ever staged in this country, but everyone involved with the QIPCO British Champions Series hopes that things will now settle down very quickly and that the racing world will enjoy a spectacular afternoon at Ascot tomorrow.