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Whip Use Debate After Royal Ascot Victory

Friday, 19th July 2019

Trainer Charlie Fellowes' suggestion, as reported by racingpost.com, is that his first Royal Ascot winner, Thanks B (Mukhadram-Out of Thanks, by Sadler's Wells) should have lost the race because jockey Hayley Turner overused the whip. This has spurred much debate in UK racing circles. Other trainers Sir Mark Prescott and Donald McCain agree with Fellowes that whip use above the permitted level should result in disqualification. As a counter point, trainer Mark Johnston told racingpost.com, he believes the introduction of a limit has had an adverse effect. "My problem is the rule is wrong and the number of strokes is ludicrous. It was a big mistake pandering to the anti-whip people and thinking if we put a number on it and start banning jockeys, we'll satisfy what people want. … It might be arrogant to say people now don't understand, but you go back 70 years and most people in government rode a horse. They are totally detached from animals altogether and more interested in votes than anything else. And clearly votes from people who are also totally detached from animals are far more numerous than those who actually understand it." Thanks Be's victory caused controversy with jockey Hayley Turner given a nine-day suspension and a £1,600 fine for using her whip above the permitted level. She is only the second woman in history to ride a winner at the Royal meeting.

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