Three years on from the introduction of the current whip Rules in 2012, and ahead of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today published figures which illustrate the impact brought about following the change in the Rules.
 
The figures show that whip offences are down by almost 40% compared to 2011, prior to the introduction of the new Rules. In addition, cases of interference have decreased by nearly 33% compared to the same period.
 
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for the BHA, said:
 
“These figures highlight how effective the Rules have been in meeting their objectives of reducing the number of whip offences, bringing about a culture change towards use of the whip amongst riders, promoting good horsemanship and ensuring that we safeguard the welfare of horses and the public perception of the sport.”
 
The top ten Jump riders in the 2014/15 season have between them incurred only 11 whip offences from 5,155 rides, at an average rate of 0.2%, well below the average rate of 0.65%. Current leading Jump jockey and 19-time Champion AP McCoy has incurred only one whip offence from 736 rides. Similarly, the four Irish riders who ride most regularly in Britain have between them incurred only one whip offence from their rides in Britain this season.*
 
In terms of in major races, in 2014, 61 of 72 Group or Grade 1 races run did not incur any form of whip offence, while just four of the 72 winning rides in Group or Grade 1 races incurred a breach of the Rules.
 
Jamie Stier added:
 
“On the whole we remain satisfied with the current Rules and the manner in which they are being adhered to by the riders and enforced by the stewards. The figures from the top Jump riders show that it is possible to ride many winners, at the top end of the sport, without incurring breaches.
 
“The challenge of the Rules remains ensuring that the penalty structure is both fair and appropriate while also providing an effective deterrent, especially in the more valuable races. On current evidence, we believe that this balance has been struck at present.
 
“We are aware of the cyclical nature of the evolution of Rules. Quite often when the regulator introduces changes to the Rules they work successfully for a time, but then the number of offences creep up through a combination of riders’ adherence to the Rules slipping and perhaps the stewards’ application of the Rules changing. These factors contributed to the need for the 2011 Whip Review.
 
“We are anxious for this cycle not to be repeated. This is why it is pleasing to see that the figures on the whole support the fact that riders are respecting the Rules and the stewards enforcing the Rules in a consistent manner. We hope that this will remain the case, in particular at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.”
 
*Figures are accurate as of Tuesday 3 March 2015
 
1. WHIP OFFENCES

2011 (prior to introduction of new whip Rules)
1.07% of all runners incurred whip offences                                                                                
6 March 2012 – 24 Feb 2013
0.69% of all runners incurred whip offences
 = 35% reduction in rate                                                     
 
6 March 2013 – 24 Feb 2014
0.64% of all runners incurred whip offences                                         
= 7% further reduction in rate
Total 40% reduction in rate compared to 2011                  
 
6 March 2014 – 24 Feb 2015
0.65% of all runners incurred whip offences                                               
=1% rise in rate
Total 39% reduction in rate compared to 2011                  
 
2. INTERFERENCE
           
2011 (prior to introduction of new whip Rules)
0.88% of all runners incurred interference offences
 
6 March 2012 – 24 Feb 2013
0.66% of all runners incurred offences 
= 25% reduction in rate                                                     
 
6 March 2013 – 24 Feb 2014
0.73% of all runners incurred offences      
= 10% rise in rate
Total 19% reduction in rate compared to 2011                  
 
6 March 2014 – 24 Feb 2015
0.60% of all runners incurred offences    
= 18% reduction in rate
Total 32% reduction in rate compared to 2011                  
 
3. The top ten British Jump jockeys have committed 11 offences out of 5155 rides in the 2014/15 season at a rate of 0.2%, compared to the national average of 0.65%.

Those jockeys are AP McCoy, Tom Scudamore, Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies, Brian Hughes, Aidan Coleman, Noel Fehily, Jason Maguire, Paul Moloney and Gavin Sheehan. These figures are accurate as of Tuesday 3 March 2015.

4. The top Irish Jump jockeys have committed one offence between them from rides in Britain. Those Irish jockeys whose rides were analysed were Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Davy Russell and Paul Townend.