Danny Brock: Review planned after jockey marked horse with 'elastic band' whip

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Resurrected at Chelmsford
Brock won by half a length on Resurrected, who had been unplaced in her previous three races

A jockey's "lenient" ban for marking a racehorse by using a whip with elastic bands has prompted British racing to review its penalties for such offences.

Danny Brock was initially fined £140 after filly Resurrected, a 100-1 shot backed down to 10-1, won at Chelmsford in September.

A seven-day suspension, imposed after vets found a light weal on the horse, has been criticised by racing fans.

An investigation into the betting patterns is likely to take place.

In response to criticism of the suspension, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will look at its penalty guidelines.

"The BHA feels the standard penalties for an offence of this nature do not seem sufficient and will address this specifically when considering the Horse Welfare Board's broader research and recommendations regarding the whip," said a spokesman.

Asked about a potential inquiry, the spokesman said: "The BHA cannot comment on ongoing investigations or speculation surrounding possible investigations".

It is understood Brock indicated he used elastic bands to keep his riding whips together and some had mistakenly remained on one.

Resurrected, trained in Newmarket by Philip McBride, had lost her previous three races by a total of 88 lengths.

McBride told a stewards' inquiry a drop in distance and the improved form of his yard were factors in the victory.

The trainer and jockey have been approached by the BBC for comment.

"The offence was identified and dealt with by the stewards and disciplinary panel in line with - and indeed above - the existing penalty framework," said BHA chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea.

"Whether that penalty framework remains appropriate is another matter and one that we have decided to take a look at."

Modern foam whips used by jockeys are air-cushioned and should not normally mark a racehorse.

Since tougher whip rules were brought in eight years ago, the number of times a horse has suffered a weal has dropped from an average of 20 a year to one, from about 90,000 rides.

The Chelmsford case had not been widely reported, with four paragraphs about it in the Racing Post newspaper last month.

Brock's ban was questioned by racing fans when journalist Ross Clarke highlighted the incident on Twitter on Wednesday, suggesting the penalty was "lenient".

Jockey Danny Brock
Brock rode Resurrected for partner Charlie McPhillips, who is the registered owner

An independent disciplinary panel upgraded Brock's fine to a seven-day ban (five days is the standard penalty) on 16 October but has yet to provide the BHA with its reasons.

"Brock was found in breach of Rule (F)44 and fined £140 for the use of a modified whip by the stewards on the day," said a BHA statement last month

"They were unable to deal with this matter as by the time the veterinary report had been received which showed the horse had been wealed, Brock had left the course."

While the BHA introduced new limits on use of the whip in 2011, the authority does not regard it as generally harmful, although it concedes the public might perceive it to be.

Last December, BHA chief Nick Rust told the BBC even stricter rules were on the horizon, although this has not happened as the authority first embarks on a detailed research programme.

A stewards' report from Chelmsford outlined how "the apparent improvement in form" of Resurrected had been considered.

"Philip McBride was interviewed," it said. "His comments that the filly had benefitted from the drop in trip to six furlongs and the yard were in better form at present were noted."

Resurrected had finished 10th, eighth and seventh in her previous races at odds of 150-1, 66-1 and 50-1.

However, McBride did have a double at Yarmouth two days before the Chelmsford fixture to end a 15-race losing run.

Brock has ridden eight winners from 87 rides this year, with three on 8 March, when he raced while other riders boycotted Arena Racecourse Company meetings in a row over prize money.

Five years ago, Brock said he would seek advice on the use of the whip from the British Racing School after his fifth offence of overusing it in races. He was given a 21-day ban, with seven of those days suspended.

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