BHA introduces new microchip whip
By Jon Lees9.55AM 16 OCT 2009
The BHA is introducing a new style of whip which will be fitted with a microchip that will help establish the effectiveness of the whip's cushioning properties and how long it should be used before being replaced.
New whips, which will be identifiable by a distinctive red disc on the handle, will be distributed to all British jockeys over the new few months by the BHA who eventually plan to make their use a requirement of the rules.
The design is based on the existing cushioned whip while incorporating the same type of microchip used to identify racehorses. Improvements have also been made to the grip.
The first batch of modified whips will be funded by the BHA and made available to all licensed professional jockeys at no cost to themselves. Jockeys with more than 500 rides per year will receive two whips.
Tim Morris, the BHA's director of equine science and welfare, said: "At present we do not know if the cushioning effect is sustained over time. Identification of individual whips via the microchip will allow objective assessment of whip age, estimates of the number in races where it has been used and ultimately avoid any whip wear that might affect horse welfare.
"The use of these microchips for whip identification is a result of racing's ongoing positive co-operation with the PJA and our dialogue with the RSPCA. We will continue to consult with the PJA on the rules and penalties forany whip offences, and work closely with the PJA and racing schools on education over proper use of the whip."
Wonder if it can keep track of how many times a whip is used during a race.