Matt Chapman tips: We must fight to save the whip plus my winners and losers from the jumps season

IN the 1980s it was the Beastie Boys that told us you gotta' "Fight for your Right (To Party!)."

While fighting for anything in a literal sense is not something this column would ever advocate, standing up for yourself is highly commended.

With that in mind, I was delighted jockeys in Scandinavia enjoyed a significant victory over authority this week.

A strike threat from riders changed new rules on midrace encouragement from the saddle. That meant Wednesday's card at Bro Park in Sweden, which at one stage was in doubt, went ahead as did other imminent fixtures in the region.

This is important because the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is currently mulling over possible changes to Britain's whip rules following a consultation project.

Initial discussions ran from July to September of last year, followed by a period of focus groups and detailed discussions with relevant bodies which ran into the autumn.

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The Whip Consultation Steering Group – the body which was formed to assess the responses to the consultation and propose any recommendations that may go before the BHA Board – are now apparently assessing possible recommendations based on this process.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with our whip rules. The whip is not a welfare issue and no-one outside of racing discusses the matter.

Those in the sport cause all the issues, along with ridiculous rules which allow you to be a hero one minute and a villain the next depending on how many strikes of the pro-cush whip you use. 

Those in power should take note of what the Scandinavian jockeys threatened. I'd have no problem with riders here doing the same thing as those in charge continue to mess around with rules as if they are just finding something to do. Please stop creating problems that are not there.


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The pro-cush will be out at Sandown today as the jumps season draws to a close.

Brian Hughes will be crowned champion jockey with a double hundred on the score-sheet, while Paul Nicholls is the top trainer and JP McManus the leading owner.

The latter deserves a special mention. With over 2.5m pounds he's miles clear of anyone else and that tally comes from getting on for six hundred runners. What would so many handlers do without JP? 

In general I think it has been a cracking jumps season.

Honeysuckle remains unbeaten and her winning streak is something special. A Plus Tard was a proper Gold Cup winner, while Allaho was brilliant in the Ryanair and Flooring Porter super tough in the Stayers'.

Energumene was gifted the Champion Chase on the demise of Shishkin, but hopefully the latter will be back next season to thrill us once again.

Their smash up at Ascot was without doubt the race of the season, and might be the race of the decade.

And what about the novices? Constitution Hill, Galopin des Champs, Ahoy Senor and L'Homme Presse have all looked special.

Constitution Hill was supreme in the Supreme, and could be one of the best hurdlers we have ever seen.

Galopin des Champs appears an absolute machine, and will go down as one of the unluckiest losers in the history of the Cheltenham Festival.

The big betting race this afternoon at Sandown is the bet365 Chase, still better known to most as the Whitbread!

Enrilo was first past the post last year but was disqualified and placed third, which seemed desperately harsh to me at the time. He goes again for Nicholls and while he's not set the world alight this term, he was back to a bit of form at Kempton last time and is only 1lb higher than 2021.

That Kempton event went to Cap du Nord for Christian Williams, with stable companion Kitty's Light in second. Both of those go again here, with Kitty''s Light third last year before being promoted to second.

Matt Chapman’s ITV Tips

1.50 Sandown – Head Law

2.25 Sandown – Mister Fisher

3.00 Sandown – Nube Negra

3.32 Sandown – Win My Wings

2.05 Haydock – Boardman

2.45 Leicester – Path of Thunder

Kitty's Light looks a hard horse to win on to me, but Jack Tudor knows just how to get the best out of him.

Welsh-wizard Williams also saddles the incredible Win My Wings, who carries 11st 12lb after being shoved up 14lb in the ratings for a facile success in the Scottish National.

Now your gut feeling is this new mark will be a step too far, but Win My Wings has been so brilliant in her last two races that I'm going to take a chance she can continue the glorious run.

If she does so, Win My Wings could be a Gold Cup horse in 2023. It's the beauty of the sport – once one campaign finishes the dreams start for the next…


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