Top jockey quits in protest

2011-10-14 11:23

London - A top jockey handed in his racing licence on Thursday in protest of British horse racing's new whip rules, after incurring two bans in the first week of their implementation.

Richard Hughes said he will not race again unless the rules are changed, after being handed a 10-day ban for breaching the new regulations at Kempton on Thursday when finishing second on More Than Words.

"Maybe if they review the rules I'll have a rethink," Hughes told Sky Sports News.

"But if you're taking the art out of racing then I'm afraid I can't continue."

The Irish jockey was also given a ban on Monday, the first day the new rules were enforced. On both occasions he was punished for using the whip six times inside the final furlong, with the new regulations only allowing five.

Hughes said jockeys weren't consulted before the rules were introduced, and that "we're finding it very difficult to abide by it."

"The penalties are barbaric," he said.

"I'd rather not ride than take the art out of racing."

Hughes were among three jockeys banned within the first three days of the rules being introduced, along with Kieren Fox and Natalia Gemelova. All three had to forfeit their riding fee and prize-money percentage.

The rules state that jockeys are allowed a maximum eight strokes of the whip in jumps races and seven on the flat, roughly half the level that could be used previously.

The British Horseracing Authority introduced the new rules after a 10-month review found the current regulations to be a weak deterrent.