The whip is on the way out at Britain's Towcester racecourse. Bosses at the course, one of the country's toughest, will require riders to stick to the "head and heels" system, in which the whip can only be used for steering. "It is the Towcester board’s view that the public who attend our fixtures do not enjoy watching horses getting whipped after they have raced up our steep hill," a source tells the Telegraph.
Use of the whip, or riding crop, has long been controversial, and Towcester's move will be keenly watched by Britain's other 59 courses and racing authorities in other countries. Veteran racing commentator John McCririck hailed the decision. "If they have just hands-and-heels races we will see who the real jockeys are and not the macho men who clobber horses the hardest," he told the Sun. "In 20 years people will look back and see recordings of races and will not believe horses were hit in the name of sport. I find the whip repulsive. No animal should be allowed to be hit. You cannot whack your dog with a stick so why should horses be any different?"