Discover all you need to know about the new whip rules in place at Cheltenham, including the odds on a winner to be disqualified
Ladbrokes is offering odds of 3/1 for any Cheltenham Festival 2023 winner to be disqualified because their jockey has broken strict new regulations on the use of the whip.
The British Horse Racing Authority implemented new whip laws in jumps racing on February 13 after a report last year – and it is already having big repercussions.
The new rules limit jockeys to just seven uses of the whip per jumps race but horses will only be disqualified if riders use the whip four or more times over the permitted seven-stroke maximum.
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There were 20 bans for jockeys in the first week of the new regulations. The likes of Lorcan Williams and Philip Armson have received suspensions and as a result are missing the Festival.
Despite the heavy sanction on riders, only two horses have been disqualified from races since the new rules were introduced.
Each case is assessed by the whip review committee as it looks into the force of the whip, how it was used and when before making a decision. A ruling will not be made until a day after the race, leaving everyone in an overnight limbo.
The new rules will come under even more scrutiny during Cheltenham, and some observers have questioned why it was introduced so close to the showpiece event.
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, who has a number of horses running at the Festival, has said that the new whip rules are “scary” and there is a feeling in the industry that riders will be caught out at Cheltenham.
With a number of jockeys coming over from Ireland for the event, they have not had a chance to get used to the new rules – which could cause further disruption.
Historically, the whip rules have not had too much of an effect on Festival winners but that could change with these new regulations.
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