Matt Chapman: Latest whip ban is “embarrassing” but British racing has led the way into this “utter mess”


RACING authorities around the globe – the very people put in place to protect the sport – are single handedly self-destructing the game with whip rules that can only be described as absurd.

The latest nation to embarrass itself is Germany, whose leaders slammed Ross Coakley with a quite crazy 23-day ban at Baden-Baden last Sunday.

Ross Coakley (left, yellow, black and white silks) has been in the news of late after he received a huge whip ban


Ross Coakley (left, yellow, black and white silks) has been in the news of late after he received a huge whip banCredit: PA

But don’t in any way believe the Germans are alone in this utter mess.

British racing has led the way in total whip nonsense, indeed you could describe the British Horseracing Authority as the world leaders in stupidity over this subject.

Remember the BHA introduced the crazy number rule, mainly because it has virtually no power other than regulation, so relishes the chance to wield an axe over the whip rules and jockey punishments for interference to try and prove it has a relevance,

You know the insane one. It states if you use the whip seven times in a Flat race and on eight occasions in a jumps race and win you are a hero, but if you do so one more than that you are a villain. I mean who on earth believes that is sensible on any level? No one, other than the British racing’s rulers.

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And while i’m at it, why did that happen? Because out of the nine million people who watched Ballabriggs land the 2011 Grand National nine complained about the use of the whip by the winning rider. Yes, that’s right, nine. OMG.

Anyway, back to the Germans. Coakley rode last year’s Dewhurst Stakes runner-up, Dubawi Legend, to victory in the Group 3 Casino Baden-Baden Goldene Peitsche.

Under the German rules, there is no doubt the jockey was in breach of regulations.

Effectively, Coakley was found to have excessively slapped his mount down the neck, and as a result received the lengthy ban and lost 50% of his share of the prize-money.

I beg you all to go and watch the race which is widely found on social media.

Matt Chapman’s weekend tips

Naval Power

Reach for the Moon

Tamilla eachway

Soulcombe (NR)

Naval Crown eachway

Dubai Honour

My Mate Ted eachway

Tactical eachway

Al Nafir eachway

Provided you are not someone who is opposed to horse racing full-stop and despise the industry and the breeding of thoroughbreds, I’d be stunned if you are in any way offended or upset by Coakley’s ride.

In fact, I would be shocked. I’d go as far to say that most would believe Coakley had performed a masterclass in helping his horse run as fast as it could for the 1m9.7s Dubawi Legend was asked to race.

Racing authorities, and by that I mean the individuals in charge, appear to be in competition to be named the world leader in equine welfare, and use the whip as the base of their quest.

The problem for the rest of us is the whip is not a welfare issue, and thus we have the people in charge making up rules for absolutely no reason.

That in itself is infuriating, but ever more so as we try and attract people from countries like Japan and Hong Kong to bet on our sport to help our finances. Why would they, when it’s getting nigh on impossible for a jockey to encourage their mount in a reasonable way?



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Honestly, I’m so annoyed about this situation. And only our leaders are to blame.

Dubawi Legend was so unaffected by his rider’s actions in Germany that he’s due to line up for today’s feature race on ITV, the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

That Hugo Palmer is likely to send him for the six furlong dash in itself tells you how little whip rules have to do with horse welfare. The three-year-old is bucking and kicking with energy and joy.

That said, he’s got a task on his hand even though it appears a poor renewal of a contest that has thrown up stars like Habibti, Green Desert, Dayjur, Royal Applause and Dream Ahead.

The horse who will be very hard to kick out the frame is Naval Crown for Charlie Appleby and the very much in form William Buick.

Once fourth in a 2000 Guineas, Naval Crown has turned into a very useful sprinter, this season taking the Platinum Jubilee at Royal Ascot, finishing second in the July Cup at Newmarket and fifth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville when the extended distance just seemed a bit too far.

Conditions should be ideal for Naval Crown today, it’s just a shame his rider will get penalised if he encourages the horse in a way a jockey should be allowed to do. Oh my.


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