Winston ‘absolutely disgusted’ as whip bans dominate

ON A day dominated by the whip, Robert Winston expressed himself “absolutely disgusted” after being handed a 22-day suspension at Southwell.

In total 83 days worth of bans were given to the five jockeys.

Fellow jockeys Nicky Mackay, also at Soutwell, Lee Edwards (Fontwell) and Michael Stainton (Kempton) were handed less severe penalties on the same day that the British Horseracing Authority issued amateur Robert Cooper a colossal 52-day whip ban for his winning ride on Elton Fox at Uttoxeter on December 31.

Mackay was handed a two-day suspension, while Edwards will serve a five-day ban and Stainton two days.

Winston was found to have used his whip excessively and down the shoulder in a forehand position.

As it was his second such offence within a 12-month period the stewards felt it warranted a suspension at the upper level. He will miss January 26-28, 30, 31, February 1-4, 6-11, 13-18 and 20.

Winston’s first suspension under the new whip rules had been at Musselburgh in October, where he has handed a seven-day ban for his winning ride on Here Now And Why, after which he said he could be forced to consider his future in Britain.

Winston said: “I’m absolutely disgusted.

“When I turned into the straight I wanted to come widest of all to avoid the kickback but she was hanging severely.

“I’ve given her three smacks and she was literally on one rein. She was going to knock the other horse off its course which Leonna Mayor rode (Community).

“So I picked my stick up and used it three times in the forehand as a safety measure to stop it from hanging and the horse responded.

“I’m in a position to try and win the race and also prevent an accident from happening but they’ve counted those three on top of the seven behind the saddle I’ve used.

“I didn’t think the three in the forehand down the shoulder would be an issue because I was preventing an accident. I get penalised heavily for trying to win a race and trying to prevent an accident and if I get done again it will be a couple of months. It’s an absolute joke.

“I’ve been riding 15 years and it feels like an insult that I’m being told what to do.

“I’m going to have to speak to my agent and discuss whether I’m going to appeal or not.”

At Fontwell, Robert Cooper threw his whip away passing the line in a moment of irony after winning the SIS Live Handicap Chase.

The amateur jockey, 34, had endured the most tumultuous day of his riding career as he had earlier been suspended for 52 days for misuse of the stick by the BHA disciplinary panel.

Cooper had been found to have used his whip 23 times in a hurdle at Uttoxeter on December 31, when he was ending a losing run stretching back almost 12 years.

Thankfully, his mount Mortimers Cross (7-2) needed no such persuasion to win by a comfortable 19 lengths.

Cooper had initially suggested that he might be reconsidering his future as a jockey, but said: “I’m still a bit annoyed about it, but rules are rules and I can’t do anything about it.

“I’m not a jockey who is known for using the stick and it’s the first ban I’ve ever had. I showed I didn’t need to use it there, but I threw my whip away and I imagine I’ll be fined for that too!”

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