The number of strikes with the whip a jockey is allowed to use over jumps and on the Flat in France has been reduced from five to four beginning on May 1, France Galop announced on Wednesday.
There will be an educational and transitional period from Mar. 1 to Apr. 30 to allow jockeys to acclimate to the new regulations. The sanctions currently in place regarding overuse of the whip will be applied through Apr. 30. The aim is to gradually reduce the use of the whip, and the system will be reviewed at the end of 2023.
The following are specifications that apply to the manner and the number of times a whip can be used:
- Using the whip on the shoulder or neck of the horse when the jockey does not have both hands on the reins counts towards the permitted number of strikes.
- It is at the discretion of the stewards to decide if a jockey has used his/her whip clearly and unequivocally for safety reasons (correcting the horse’s trajectory) rather than misused it.
- The stewards will consider it a misuse offence (according to article 171 of the Racing Code) when a jockey uses his/her whip one or more times even though his/her mount was no longer able to improve or was out of contention (it is a misuse even if the jockey has used his/her whip below the authorised number).
- Using the whip above shoulder height is considered a misuse offence.
Increased penalties will come into effect on May 1, as well, with specific penalties applying to group races. For the full details regarding penalties for whip offences after the new rules come into effect, and for more information on the new rules, please go to the France Galop website.