Horse racing chiefs postpone review into whip use during coronavirus outbreak

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Horse racing chiefs have postponed a review of whip usage in the sport as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The British Horseracing Authority made a request to the the Horse Welfare Board to delay the consultation.

It was due to be completed by October and could have led to an overhaul of the regulations.

The HWB suggested penalties for repeat breaches, whip action and modification should have been part of it.

The study will now take place at a later date, as officials are busy working on a coronavirus operational plan for the sport, which employs around 85,000 people.

There are approximately 14,000 horses in training across the UK.

Barry Johnson, the Horse Welfare Board’s Independent Chair, said: “The Horse Welfare Board fully supported the BHA’s request to postpone the planned consultation on the whip and will work with the BHA, at an appropriate time, to agree a new timetable.

"We are keen to ensure that any consultation on the whip is done thoroughly and well, with maximum involvement from people in the sport, which would be enormously challenging in the current circumstances.

A jockey's whip, pictured at Chelmsford City Racecourse on February 13, 2020
(Image: Getty)

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"This postponement will allow British racing to focus on more immediate concerns relating to the welfare of people and horses.

"The Horse Welfare Board will support these efforts in any possible way and applauds the exceptional work that thousands of people in the industry are continuing to do on a daily basis, in caring for future, current and retired racehorses.”

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The regulatory update issued by the UK said early closing deadlines for races are temporarily suspended.

This includes those that already have entries, such as the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, which will provisionally be programmed to close at the five/six-day stage.

The move is expected to alter prize money levels, which will now be advertised ten days before each race, with the entry fees adjusted accordingly.

Musselburgh Racecourse's licence, due to expire on March 31, has been extended to allow for more time for a deal to be completed with a third-party operator.

Racing is not due to resume in the UK until May 1 at the earliest.

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