BHA considering penalty changes for modified whips

Penalties for the use of modified whips could be reconsidered by the British Horseracing Authority following an incident at Chelmsford in September.

Danny Brock was fined £140 by the raceday stewards after he was found to have used a modified whip when steering the Charlie McBride-trained Resurrected to victory in the Moving Made Easy Classified Stakes on September 19.

However, that penalty was later increased to a seven-day suspension by the BHA’s disciplinary panel after it emerged the filly had been left with “minor weals”.

Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, stressed this was a rare transgression of the rules but admitted the standard penalties “do not seem sufficient”, with a tougher stance now possibly set to be implemented.

He said: “The use of modified whips is not something that can be tolerated. The rules of racing are clear on this and the welfare of our horses is our primary concern.

“There have been no other cases identified of modified whips being used in a number of years.

“Having identified that Danny Brock had used a modified whip, the stewards imposed on him the standard penalty for this offence, which is a £140 fine.

“The horse was checked by vets immediately after the race and at that time the horse was not wealed, but a second check of the horse later showed that minor weals had emerged.

“The jockey had left the racecourse by this time and therefore the stewards referred this second offence to be considered by the independent disciplinary panel at a later date.

“The independent panel decided to replace the initial £140 fine with a seven-day suspension, which is above the standard five-day penalty for minor weals.

“We have not yet received the independent panel’s written reasons for their decision and are therefore unable to comment on this or the penalty they have issued.

“However, the BHA feels that 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.

“In summary, the offence was identified and dealt with by the stewards and disciplinary panel in line with – and indeed above – the existing penalty framework.

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

Resurrected was the subject of significant support ahead of her win, being sent off a 10-1 shot when landing her first victory at the fourth attempt.

She had opened at odds of 25-1 and the BHA declined to comment on whether an investigation is taking place.

A spokesman said: “The BHA cannot comment on ongoing investigations or speculation surrounding possible investigations”