Frankie Dettori admits new whip rules 'very hard' to follow for jockeys

Qipco British Champions Day

  • Venue: Ascot
  • Date: Saturday 15 October

Coverage: Live BBC Two 1335-1415, BBC One 1415-1630 and BBC Sport website; commentaries BBC Radio 5 live

Top jockey Frankie Dettori has admitted that new rules on use of the whip are hard to follow.

On the first day of the regulations on Monday, riders Richard Hughes and Kieren Fox received bans and financial penalties for overuse of the whip.

Jockeys can only use the whip a maximum of five times in the final furlong or after the last obstacle.

"It's very, very hard. It will take time," said Dettori, regarding the number of strikes.

"I was trying to train myself to just get to four, but you're going at 40mph, you're looking for racing room, for gaps, so it is a lot to get used to.

"I'm actually quite surprised only two fell foul of the new rule.

"You've been told to ride one way for 25 years and overnight you have to change. After a little while people will get used to it and it shouldn't be a problem."

Riders are allowed a maximum eight strokes of the whip in jumps races and seven on the flat.

Hughes received a five-day ban and Fox 15 days for overuse of the whip at Salisbury on Monday. Both also lose their riding fees and prize money.

The stewards adjudged Fox to have administered 11 strokes while Hughes used his whip six times in the final furlong.

NEW WHIP RULES

  • Maximum seven strokes in flat races and eight over jumps
  • Only five times after last obstacle or in final furlong
  • Riding fees and prize money forfeited when whip ban of three days or more
  • BHA to review licences of repeat offenders

The controversial new regulations were brought in by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Jockeys already use air-cushioned whips to minimise the impact on horses, but an extensive review of their use began last November.

Many riders are opposed to the automatic forfeiture of their riding fee and percentage of any winnings when incurring a whip ban of three days or more.

Dettori was given a 14-day suspension for his use of the whip when winning the Queen Anne Stakes on Ramonti at Royal Ascot in June after striking Ramonti 25 times inside the final two-and-a-half furlongs.

But he told the BBC: "We have this perception among people who know nothing about horse racing that we are out there abusing horses.

"Actually our horses are looked after better than humans. We love the horses more than anything else in the world. We have a whip made of foam which actually doesn't hurt horses, it's to guide them and encourage them to run a little faster."

Dettori also revealed he would probably ride Poet's Voice against Frankel, which is the strongest indication yet that the Godolphin horse would run in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes rather than the Champion Stakes at Saturday's inaugural British Champions Day at Ascot.

Of Champions Day, Dettori added: "We'll show to the public the best horses, the best track, Ascot, the best trainers and jockeys, all on the same day."

The British Horseracing Authority on how and when you should whip a horse