Jockey Jimmy Quinn must be getting sick of the sight of the racecourse stewards’ room. He made his fifth visit in the last six months at Kempton on 10 April, and in doing so he became the first jockey to benefit from a recent change to punishments for whip offences.
The change came in to bring whip offences into line with other riding misdemeanours. It gives the panel the discretion to defer one third of any whip related suspension for a period of between seven weeks and four months.
Jamie Stier, speaking for the British Horseracing Authority, explained that the change was introduced after consultation with the Professional Jockeys’ Association. He said, “The facility to defer extended suspensions already exists as part of the totting-up process, and after discussions with the PJA it was decided this should be extended to suspensions incurred for whip offences. Deferring suspensions has two benefits. It ensures fair and proportionate penalties continue to be issued, but it also serves as an incentive for riders who have been consistently breaching the rules to ride within the rules. Those who show they can amend their riding style will be rewarded.”
Well, that’s the plan, but in Jimmy Quinn’s case it isn’t happening yet. His visit to the Kempton stewards resulted in an 18-day ban, which, with the deferment applied, meant a 12-day break from 26 April to 8 May. Afterwards he said, “I didn’t know I was the first jockey to get a whip deferral, but I’m not complaining. I had a fair hearing and I’m happy with the outcome.”
On Saturday, it was the turn of the stewards at Thirsk to get to know him. They imposed a two-day ban, for 9-10 May for over use of the whip on Suegioo on Saturday. That almost certainly means that the deferred six days will come back into effect, and Quinn might as well book a holiday break. It’s to be hoped he has the good grace to accept his punishment without complaint.