Hughes quits in protest over new whip rules

RICHARD HUGHES has pledged to relinquish his riding licence with immediate effect until there is a review of the British Horseracing Authority’s new whip rules after picking up another ban at Kempton last night.

The Irishman was given a five-day suspension on the first afternoon the rules were put into effect on Monday, and he got another 10 at Kempton when finishing a neck second on More Than Words in the Play Rainbow Riches At Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

The severity of the punishment was due to the fact it was his second offence.

Hughes gave up a ride later on, and must sit out October 29-31, November 1-5 and 9-10, meaning he will miss Strong Suit in the Breeders’ Cup.

He told Racing UK: “I’ve handed my licence in until further notice. I’ve been trying to obey the rules this week and when the rules came in we all thought seven was a fair number, but then they set a trap by saying you could only hit them five in the last furlong.

“The new rules mean you actually hit them more, as you have to get two into them before the furlong pole and then you have five for the final furlong. I was always told as a young lad the last jockey to go for stick usually wins. I don’t think I can do my owners justice any more.

“It’s my own decision. I gave her (More Than Words) a couple of slaps when she needed them but I am not a whip jockey. Both times I’ve been done I’ve hit them six times. I’ve got a 15-day ban because of it and I miss the Breeders’ Cup. What about the owner of Strong Suit – he’s a tricky horse and you have to know how to ride him.

“(His colleagues) They are bitterly disappointed, and it’s only a matter of time before they get done.

“How many times have you seen AP McCoy win races he should never have won, by persevering and getting them rolling.

“Until the rules are resolved I won’t be riding. I’d rather retire. I can’t ride horses like this. It’s like telling Lionel Messi he can’t use his left foot.”

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