Richard Hughes Quits Riding In Protest At Whip Rule

Racing fans have been left shocked by the news that seasoned jockey Richard Hughes has given up his riding licence in protest at the new whip regulations after receiving a ten-day ban at Kempton on Thursday night. It was his second whip ban in the four days since the tough new regulations were introduced. The top jockey said he would relinquish his licence until the new rules were reviewed and gave up his two remaining rides on Kempton's all-weather card.


"I can't ride horses knowing that I'm not doing myself and the owners who pay £100 a time justice," said Hughes. "I will only consider starting again if there is a review of the rules. I'd rather sweep roads than do half a job. I've notified Richard [Hannon]."


The fresh punishment means Hughes will miss the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs next month when he was due to ride Strong Suit in the Breeders' Cup Mile. He also stated he would not ride at Ascot's British Champions Days on Saturday.

Hughes registered his disgust with the new rules after his first whip ban on Monday, the day regulations were introduced. The rules limit jockeys to seven strikes (five in the last furlong) on the Flat and eight over jumps.


Thursday night's second ban, picked up on More Than Words and increased from five to ten days for being his second such offence, appeared to be the final straw for Hughes, who took particular aim at the limit of five whip strikes in the final furlong.


He said: "We're allowed to hit them seven times and both times I've been done, I've hit them six times, which is less than the amount you're allowed and I've got a fifteen day ban because of it and I miss the Breeders' Cup.


"They've made the rules so you hit them more, so you have to get two into them before the furlong pole as then you've only got five left. I was always told as a young jockey the last jockey who goes for his whip normally wins."


In an interview with Racing UK, Hughes added: "They're taking the art of race riding away from me, it's like telling Messi not to use his left foot anymore."


Hughes is one of the sport's leading lights and finished a close second to Paul Hanagan in an epic duel during last season's Flat jockeys' championship.

Earlier on Thursday, the BHA announced they would review the penalties for whip offences.

Fellow jockey James Doyle also received a five-day whip ban at Kempton for his ride on Tigers Tale in the 7f nursery, while on Wednesday William Buick, Pat Cosgrave and NataliaGemelova all fell foul of the beefed-up penalty structure, which has stoked ill feeling in the weighing room.



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