Ireland's Gordon Elliott has admitted the new BHA whip rules scare him

Ireland's Gordon Elliott has admitted the new BHA whip rules scare him

Gordon Elliott believes that the new whip rules laid out by the British Horseracing Authority are 'scary' and that they could have huge costly consequences for owners, trainers, and jockeys at upcoming festivals like The Grand National and Cheltenham. 

Last week 20 jockeys were handed bans for breaking the new whip limits set by the BHA in February.

A stricter penalty system for violations, starting with a four-day suspension for going over the allowed seven strikes, was set up last Monday regarding the use of the whip.

The rules included a reduction in the number of strikes allowed from eight to seven over jumps, plus a tightening of the regulations on use of the whip over shoulder height.

In total of 134 days in bans were handed out by the Whip Review Committee.

This means the likes of Lorcan Williams will miss the upcoming Cheltenham Festival because he was handed an 18-day suspension by the WHC.

Elliott, who has a number of horses running at the Grand National and Cheltenham has admitted that the prospect of losing so many jockeys before a festival is scary

Speaking to The Mirror, Elliot said: “I think it’s scary. It’s actually something that really worries me."

“It’s one thing that I actually lie in bed now thinking about at night. You could win a Gold Cup and then lose it the next day.

“It’s hard to believe. It’s like Brexit coming in. That came in and no one realised what was going to happen and that’s what’s after happening here.

"My biggest worry is for an owner, they pay all the training fees, buy a horse and do everything they can to win at the Olympics, which is Cheltenham, and then could get a race taken off them for doing absolutely nothing.

“We could lose owners out of the game over this."

The rules set by the WHC are not as strict in Ireland, but any Irish jockey, trainer, or player in the horse racing scene will have to abide by the stricter rules when the English racing events take place this month.

“How in this day and age we’ve got to two weeks before Cheltenham and this is only coming in. I don’t think it’s a brilliant thing, but if it came in at the start of the season then you could live with it," added Elliott

“Jockeys could now miss the English National if they’re suspended over it at Cheltenham.

"It could actually get to a stage where there might not be 40 jockeys available to ride in the Grand National. I can’t understand it at all,”

The 2023 Cheltenham Festival will run from Tuesday, March 14 to Friday, March 17. The meeting is run over four days with seven races on each day, so 28 in total. The first race of each day will be due off at 1:30pm with the last run at 5:30pm.