Racecourse to ban use of whip
Riders instead will race using a system known as Hands And Heels in which they can carry a whip but only in the back hand position and can only use it to hit the horse down the shoulder. All other use is banned.
The Towcester course, which is owned by Lord Hesketh and where the majority of meetings are free, is considered to be one of the toughest on the National Hunt circuit with a series of sharp bends and a half mile uphill run to the finish.
The whip controversy has been rumbling on for years and was re-ignited after the Grand National when Ballabriggs’ winning jockey Jason Maguire was given a five-day ban for excessive use of the whip - without losing the race.
Respected commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan said: “This is a very forward-looking plan. I’ve always felt the use of the whip on horses was unappealing. To ignore the cosmetic aspect of our sport is very dangerous and I congratulate Towcester and Charlie Brooks for their initiative. It is correct to carry a whip as an instrument for correctness but not to chastise a horse.”