Jockeys are said to be considering walking out on strike on Monday as controversy rages over new rules limiting the number of times jockeys can strike a horse during a race.
BBC Sport says it believes that a number of riders have contacted trainers to say they will not be available for the day’s fixtures at Windsor, Plumpton and Pontefract.
Initially, the new whip rules announced by the British Horse Racing Authority on September 27 received a broad welcome from those involved in the sport. But in this – the first week of operation – a number of jockeys have fallen foul of the new rules.
Jockey Richard Hughes gave up his racing licence yesterday in protest after receiving two bans within the space of four days for excessive use of the whip.
He claimed he could not continue under the new rules because he was no longer able to ride to the best of his ability.
Under the new guidelines, jockeys can only use the whip a maximum of seven times in a flat race and eight times over the jumps. This is about half the previous limit. On top of this, jockeys can apply a maximum of five strokes in the last furlong or after the final jump.
Hughes told the BBC it was very hard to keep count of the number of strokes.
Paul Roy, Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, issued a statement last night saying that they stood by the new rules and were pleased that the vast majority of jockeys had complied with them.
But he did say that the BHA was talking to the Professional Jockeys Association about the penalty structure for breaking the new rules.