THE whip was in the news again on Thursday, with the Horse Welfare Board set to recommend a consultation with the BHA in February.
From a jockey’s perspective, it is a vital piece of kit for us to do our job.
I personally haven't had a whip ban in two years and the vast majority of the jockeys riding are incredibly responsible with it.
The whips these days are so lightweight, it's nearly impossible to do any harm to a horse, in fact I saw a stat from the BHA that on average just one horse out of 90,000 a year is found to be marked by a whip. They are purely for encouragement and correction.
Horses are flight animals and the noise the whip creates gets them to go forward. To the public sitting watching on TV, they just see a jockey hitting an animal. But where you’re using the whip, down the shoulder or on the backside, it’s very well cushioned.
We probably need to do more in racing to educate people about the whip, why it is used and what they are made of, maybe then people will understand a bit better. You’d pick up something more dangerous in Ann Summers.
Christmas party season is in full swing. We are having our party at Nige’s on Monday night - I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.
Luckily over Christmas I don’t think I will be riding anything with a light weight, so I can fill my boots at Christmas dinner.
Fingers crossed, I will be getting the leg up on Clan Des Obeaux in the King George on Boxing Day.
He has improved plenty from his first run at Down Royal and he looks absolutely incredible at home. I schooled him the other day and he jumped fantastic.
I’ve won on him several times before and he obviously won the King George last year. It will be an honour to get back on him Kempton.
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I’ve got three good rides at Ascot today. Riders Onthe Storm (1.15) is in very good form.
It was unfortunate what happened last weekend at Cheltenham but this is a nice alternative for him.
He jumps brilliantly and gets into a rhythm. We have to hope he relaxes because he was very fresh at Aintree. Hopefully he can go and prove he’s a top-class animal.
Crievehill (3.00) won very well at Haydock last time out, though the ground was a lot better there than it will be today.
Our dream with him is to have a go at the Grand National. He’s a great jumper so we are hoping today he can bowl along and have something up his sleeve at the end.
I also ride Sir Valentine (3.35). I would have really fancied him if the ground was better.
Heavy ground is a worry and we might not see him at his best. But we are still hopeful he will run a good race because we think he is well-handicapped off 130.