Maybe I’m lucky, I can look at a situation within a sport I love, and let my heart go cold, and evidently some of those in racing have not been able to do this over the past few days.
This is the timeline:
Nov 2010 – BHA commence review use of the whip
26 Aug 2011 PJA – Kevin Darley announces he’s to step down in November
27 Sep 2011 BHA Review Published – http://www.britishhorseracing.com/whip-review/WhipReview.pdf
13 Oct 2011 – BHA to review rules on use of whip
On the back of this then questions need to be answered, but away from the findings of the BHA review.
Why did Kevin Darley announce his intention to step down in August?
Why did PJA “commend” the BHA findings when seemingly a leading light like Richard Hughes hadn’t been consulted?
Why did Richard Hughes hand back his licence 4 hours after BHA allowing a review to take place?
The BHA Review was applauded and well received by many in the racing world when published:
Sir Henry Cecil, ten-times Champion Flat Trainer, said:
“The BHA has done an excellent, thorough job with their Review and I welcome these changes, which will hopefully serve British Racing well.”
Paul Nicholls, Champion Jumps Trainer for the last six years, said:
“Whilst I’ve been a critic of the Rules in the past, nobody likes seeing misuse of the whip and I agree that the time had come when something had to be done. I am pleased that the BHA has made sensible and reasonable changes, and I am supportive of them.
AP McCoy, Champion Jumps Jockey for the last 16 years and reigning BBC Sports Personality of the Year, said:
“The PJA has worked closely with the Authority on the BHA’s Review and I hope my colleagues embrace the proposed changes as being in the best interest of the sport. I for one support the changes.”
Frankie Dettori, one of the most famous jockeys in the world and the Ambassador for the QIPCO British Champions Series, said:
“I am not proud of having fallen foul of the whip Rules in the past and I would never want to bring any harm to any horse. These new Rules are easy to understand which will help all jockeys ride within them. I accept these new Rules are in the best interest of our great sport and it is right that they should be in place in time for Britain’s new end of season finale, QIPCO British Champions Day.”
Why the sudden turn around? Following consultation did jockeys not go back and review their rides to see if the new rules were workable? I never once heard a jockey query these regulations BEFORE implementation.
In the cold light of day, it’s blindingly obvious that the BHA do not have a case to answer, responsibility here falls solely on the Professional Jockey Assocition and their members. Lets hope the Jockeys see the light and realise that the sport is bigger than one man, and one disputed rule.