Bookmakers wait on more information regarding new whip policy

Bookmakers are awaiting the practical implications of the new ruling on whip use in racing.

On Tuesday the British Horseracing Authority announced the results of a review into the matter undertaken by the Whip Consultation Steering Group, a panel made up of figures from various areas of the sport.

The group put forward 20 recommendations and all were accepted by the BHA, with the new rules surrounding use of the whip likely to apply from autumn onwards.

One of the most significant areas of change is the new rule regarding the disqualification of horses who have been struck more than 12 times over jumps or 11 times on the Flat.

This could cast a doubtful light over winning rides in the future and there is likely to be a period of uncertainty during which bookmakers are unsure how to settle bets.

In reacting to the new framework bookmakers will consider the immediacy of the process of disqualification and will assess the long-term consequences of the new rules on the frequency of such occurrences.

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“To anticipate how these new rules will affect racing’s betting customers, and the way we will treat them for bet settlement purposes, we need more information on how this is all going to work in practice, particularly the speed with which a disqualification for a whip offence will be announced in relation to the announcement of the official result,” said David Stevens of Coral.

“It will also be important to get some sense of the likely impact of these rules on rider behaviour as that will determine the frequency of disqualifications. You have to think that the new rules should achieve the desired outcome, as jockeys will not want to be responsible for owners and trainers losing a victory and prize money, so hopefully disqualifications for whip offences will be very rare.

“Getting answers to these questions will help us understand the likely impact on our customers, and for example whether we include disqualifications for a whip offence as part of our policy on paying double result.

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“The last thing we want is for customers to cheer home winners and then lose out as that will impact on the appeal of betting on horse racing versus other sports

“Given the significance and severity of a potential disqualification for a whip offence, and the potential impact on customers, it might make sense for this disqualification to be deemed after the official result (a bit like horses subsequently disqualified for failing post-race dope testing) and therefore not impacting on the official result for betting purposes. But that is just one potential approach to dealing with this new rule.”

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