Thankfully, the fears of whip rules overshadowing Cheltenham proved unfounded.
According to the British Horseracing Authority, there were only six referrals for whip violations during the Cheltenham Festival, so there was no risk of disqualification.
The revised rules, which limit National Hunt riders to seven whip strikes during a contest, had raised concerns about the possibility of numerous bans from prominent racing figures.
The BHA stated that there were no transgressions of this magnitude in the Cotswolds; however, exceeding the limit by four strikes or more results in the horse’s disqualification and a double suspension for the rider.
Only six referrals have been made out of 444 rides during the Festival’s 28 races, and only one of those referrals was for a ride that won.
Three references were for use over the allowed level – of which the triumphant ride was not one – two for involving the whip in the erroneous spot and one for utilizing it above shoulder level.
The BHA acknowledged there would be “inevitable interest in such a high-profile event and the first major Festival under the new rules”, prompting them to release the information ahead of the Whip Review Committee’s regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, when bans will be imposed and then announced.