|Christophe Soumillon riding Cirrus Des Aigles (C, stripped cap) was punished after race at Ascot [GALLO/GETTY]|
The British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) on Friday announced revisions to recently toughened whip rules and rescinded penalties that created controversy among jockeys.
As a result, Richard Hughes will return to racing, after handing in his licence in protest at having two bans in four
days, and Christophe Soumillon will receive his share of winnings from a feature race at Ascot last Saturday.
Soumillon struck his mount once more than the then-rules permitted and he was livid at having to forfeit his prize money of around $79,000.
The major changes include removal of a five-hits limit in the final furlong, or after the final obstacle, but the restriction to seven hits in a flat race and eight over jumps remains.
“The board is committed to the highest standards of regulation in the sport and ensuring that British Horseracing
Jockeys had struggled to accept the tougher rules introduced on October 10. Their unrest led to media reports that some leading jockeys planned to disrupt the sport by going on strike.
A BHA statement added that riders will now not lose riding fees while suspended for whip offences and will lose a percentage of winnings only if an offence is penalised with a ban of seven days or more, instead of three days.
“The board is committed to the highest standards of regulation in the sport and ensuring that British Horseracing continues to lead the way in matters of equine welfare,” the statement said.
“This is a sport not without its challenges, but they will always be outweighed by the sport’s strengths. These challenges will best be met – and are being met – by finding a common purpose amongst the sport’s participants, and by putting the sport first.”
The revised rules came into force for all meetings on Friday.