Jockeys in Britain are set to face stiffer penalties for manoeuvres that might impact on the safety or fairness of a race by causing interference.
The change is part of moves to take effect from May 23 with the intention of providing a “greater deterrent to riders”, and comes as the result of British Horseracing Authority consultation with the Professional Jockeys Association, as well as the National Trainers Federation and Racehorse Owners Association.
Under the new structure, Andrea Atzeni’s three-day ban incurred for careless riding in a controversial renewal of last year’s St Leger at Doncaster would now carry a ban of seven to eight days for improper riding.
The BHA said there was a “common feeling among those consulted” that the rules and penalty structures should be reviewed during what is a usual annual process, following a series of offences in high-profile races in 2015.
Instances where a rider manoeuvres during a race, when he knows or ought reasonably to have known, that by doing so interference would occur, are to be categorised as ‘improper’ rather than ‘careless’ and are set to carry a higher penalty of up to 21 days, with a minimum of four days for interference-related offences.
In contrast, the impact of bans for the most minor offences will be reduced.
One-day suspensions are to be removed from the bottom of the penalty range for careless riding in order that minor offences which would previously have incurred a one-day suspension will now receive a caution.
The top end of the penalty range for careless riding is to be increased from nine days to 14 days. However, penalties for whip-related offences are to remain unchanged.
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for the BHA, said: “Safety and fairness are paramount in our approach to regulating the sport and these facets are at the heart of the amendments to the rules and penalties we have announced today.
“Altering the definition of careless and improper riding means that manoeuvres which ought to have been obvious would cause interference are now categorised in the more serious category of ‘improper riding’.
“This offence carries a greater penalty range than ‘careless riding’ and this should serve as a greater deterrent to riders making such manoeuvres which could potentially undermine the safety of riders and horses, and the fairness of a race.”
“We will monitor the impact of these changes. We are grateful to the PJA for their constructive participation in this project.”
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