May 2004



As you are all now aware, shock absorbing whips have been mandatory in jump racing since last October. Only those designs approved by the Jockey Club’s Whip Panel are permitted for use. The panel is comprised of representatives of the Jockey Club (Paul Barton), JAGB (Mick Fitzgerald) and the National Equine Welfare Council (David Muir of the RSPCA).

Last year the Panel met at Kempton to carry out checks and weigh all the whips in use that day. It became apparent that the majority of whips supplied by David Matthews were overweight and lacked the shock-absorbing characteristics of the design he had earlier submitted to the Whip Panel for approval. In March David Matthews appeared before the Disciplinary Panel. He was found to have brought racing into disrepute and fined as a result of his manufacturing whips and marking them with an approval number in the full knowledge that they were not of the same standard as his approved design.

As I said when I wrote to you in September last year, the revised design and the establishment of the Whip Panel represented a potential breakthrough for racing with regards to nullifying criticism of the use of the whip in racing. However, this has been put in jeopardy by the whips supplied to jockeys which do not meet the standard of those approved by the panel. Consequently, we have been given no option but to tighten up our checking procedures and to further clarify Instruction H8 which deals with the design of approved whips.

The amended Instruction came into effect at the start of the 2004-5 jumps season. It stipulates that:- the maximum weight for a whip is 160gms.- the shock absorbing material must have a compression factor of at least 6mm.- the contact area of the whip must be smooth with no protrusion or raised surface (such as stitching of lettering.

To ensure that the whips in use meet the specifications laid down in the Instruction, Clerks of Scales will periodically check on whips using a set of callipers (to test the compression) and a set of scales.

If, once the Instruction is up and running, your whip is checked and does not meet the required specifications, the Clerk of the Scales will notify you that you are not permitted to use that whip in a race. The Clerk of the Scales will also mark the whip in question so that it is easily identifiable. If a rider continues to use a whip which has failed the test he will be reported to the Stewards. I would point out that the Clerks of Scales will be policing this sensibly and with flexibility where appropriate.

We have had to take these steps to ensure that all jockeys are using approved whips and that nobody is gaining an unfair advantage by using something different. We acknowledge that with wear and tear the standard of some whips vary and the Clerks of Scales will also ask a rider to replace a whip if it has deteriorated to the extent that it no longer passes the test.

We recognise that there may be additional costs for those who bought whips in good faith from a manufacturer only to find out that the design was not consistent with that approved by the Jockey Club. We understand your frustration but the measures are, I’m afraid, necessary because the manufacturers have misled us and we need to ensure a level playing field for all concerned. If a whip you have paid for, with an approved mark, fails to meet the standards when tested on course we recommend that you take the matter up with the manufacturer.

Currently, the only approved manufacturer is Robert Patton (whips marked JCPA 01/a and 01/b). I have attached his supplier list and we have also sent it to the valets. We are also in correspondence with other potential manufacturers and will let you know either directly or through the JAGB should other whips be approved by the Panel.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Peter Webbon
Director of Veterinary Science and Welfare

SUPPLIER LISTOLD MILL SADDLERY110 Larne RoadBallycarryCarrickfergusCo. Antrim BT38 9JNContact: Robert PattonTel: 02893 353268Fax: 02893 353111Web: www.saddlery.bizEmail: RACING79 Byfield RoadWoodford HalseNr. DaventryNorthamptonshire NN11 3QSContact: Jim DraperTel: 01327 261512RACEDAYPO Box 5908Woodford HalseNr. DaventryNorthants NN11 3ZJContact: Gary SpencerTel: 01327 262148Fax: 01327 262271WOODLANDS LEISURE WEARUnit 1 Northfield FarmGreat SheffordNewburyBerks RG1 7DQContact: Billy, Andy or NorrisTel: 01488 648820Fax: 01488 648771STABLEWARE LTDRockleyNr. MarlboroughWilts SN8 1RTContact: Joy PennTel: 01672 512382GIBSON SADDLERS LTDSales Paddock LaneNewmarketSuffolkCB8 9AXContact: Karl ButcherTel: 01638 662330HARLEY EQUESTRIAN24 Station RoadWoodford HalseNr. DaventryNorthants NN11 3RBContact: Tracy Habgood Tel: 01327 260818E J WICKSNewbury StreetLambournHungerfordBerkshire RG17 8PBContact: Mr M BentickTel: 01488 71766WHITEROSE SADDLERY62-64 CastlegateMaltonNorth Yorkshire YO17 0DZContact: Chris or WendyTel: 01653 697440Fax: 01653 697440 MANGAN & WEBB SADDLERYDigbeth StreetStow in the WoldGloucestershireGL54 1BNT: 01451

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