British horse trainer Paul Nicholls has claimed the timing of the BHA's new whip rules ahead of Cheltenham is 'disappointing'
A stricter penalty system for violations, starting with a four-day suspension for going over the allowed seven strikes, was set up last month 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
Last week 20 jockeys were handed bans for breaking the new whip limits set by the BHA in February.
In total 134 days in bans were handed out by the Whip Review Committee.
This means the likes of Nicholl's jockey Lorcan Williams will miss the upcoming Cheltenham Festival because he was handed an 18-day suspension by the WHC.
"I’m actually disappointed with the way the BHA has handled it - talk about shooting the industry in the foot," said the 60-year-old speaking to Betfair.
"There are people in the BHA who need to take a real look at themselves. Are they doing the right thing for the industry? Because I think they are letting us down and I think this whole thing is wrong.
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"We don't want to appease people who don’t understand the game. We’ve got to stand up for ourselves and say, ‘look, this is where we are, it’s not a welfare issue.’ We need a bit of backbone; the BHA need a bit of backbone to stand up for us all the time instead of appeasing to the wrong people
"There’s a lot of us trainers who have kept quiet and are very, very annoyed with the way it’s been handled. That’s not just trainers either, a lot of owners are upset about the whole thing, and it will drive people away if they are not careful
"I’ve been livid all along with the timing of it," added the trainer.
"Nothing seems to be simple with the BHA these days, which is sad because they’ve got a tough job to do. But I honestly think they need to take a look at themselves and see what they are doing towards the industry. They need to be a little more proactive at getting things right."
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.