Matt Chapman: BHA whipping up a frenzy over absolutely nothing – plus my 8-1 tip for Saturday | The Sun

IT’S been a disastrous week for the British Horse Racing Authority over its unnecessary new whip rules.

Indeed, I’m still in shock over a BHA statement on Twitter. I am flabbergasted.

This column has no need to go over old ground, suffice to say most of you will be aware of stringent new whip regulations that come into play on February 13.

The reasons for them are no longer of much importance, such is the ridiculousness of their nature.

Essentially, though, it all surrounds so-called public perception.

CALL ME LORD (2.55 Sandown)

Ran out of puff up the hill at Cheltenham last time but remains on a fair mark. He can nick a place and maybe more.

This is the public that were asked to message officials with their grievances over the whip.

And out of the whole country, just 510 did so. So much for being up in arms.

Now imagine, for a minute, if everything in your life was turned upside down because around 510 people out of nearly 70 million didn’t agree with something.

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But that’s what the BHA has done.

First, it decided to implement all 20 recommendations from a steering group it put together.

That’s incredible. I doubt that has ever happened with any such operation in any walk of life.

Then, it changed its ban on using the forehand position while adding even stricter bans in other areas.

Now, its decision on the non-negotiable use of the whip over a fixed height has caused chaos with some physically unable to do it.

As a result, during the bedding-in period many jockeys have been told by stipendiary stewards of the punishments they will ultimately get once rules are official.

That is a matter of fact, unless the BHA is saying the weighing room is full of liars.

It seems that is exactly, though, what they claim.

Because on Twitter this week the BHA said: “The stewards (at Cheltenham) have stated they did not give riders an indication as to what potential suspensions would be.”

I have to be careful what I say. But Harry Cobden and Sean Bowen are just two who were categorically told of likely bans.

I’ll leave out which stipendiary steward I’m talking about, but another respected rider revealed this to me: “The stipe told me he referred 11 jockeys and he could have done another seven but they are snowed under in London with referrals.”

So, the BHA, are you sure no one was given any indications? I’m not!

As we stand, the BHA has once again revealed it is re-assessing the mess it has created. In my opinion it has brought racing into disrepute.

And if that’s the case for someone who abides by its rules, there would be severe repercussions.

This cannot be brushed under the plush Holborn BHA carpet. It’s outrageous.

A number of star names strut their stuff in Ireland this weekend, with their riders being briefed by BHA officials about the bans they will incur when they come across.

Top of the list is Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup.

You might remember him looking like a monster when coming down late on in the Turners’.

He returned in the John Durkan with a dazzling display, and showed pace. He has yet to run over this trip, but he’s a Grade 1 winning three-mile hurdler.

On Sunday, ITV show more Grade 1s from Leopardstown, including the Irish Champion Hurdle.

This is an absolutely crucial race to see if anyone can serve anything up to Constitution Hill next month.

For a start, it’s D-Day for Honeysuckle, while young pretender State Man could be anything.

Throw in the exciting Triumph hero Vauban and we have a right old contest.

It will need a sparkling effort for anyone to think Constitution Hill will be remotely challenged, but competition is what this game is all about, so let’s pray someone looks like a monster.

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It’s just a shame the super talented Irish jockeys and horse-loving people will be unable to ride their mounts properly when it comes to showcasing their ability in the UK.

What an absolute cock-up.


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