Wednesday, 19 October 2011




1. PAUL ROY, “NICK, I’ve made it very clear that we’ve put a new set of rules in place for whip use and those rules have been actually commended by everybody in the sport through a very thorough consultation process that has taken place over weeks and months, which resulted in a very long document and a set of recommendations endorsed by everybody in the sport, all the stakeholders including – please let me finish – the Professional Jockeys’ Association , and there are press releases to that effect. So everybody endorsed and bought into it and everybody agreed that it was necessary to make some amendments to the whip rules and that is what we did. Now, here we are in a set of circumstances obviously which, frankly, listening  to your broadcast I think is very unfortunate that it’s taking what is a fantastic day for British racing and, as I said to a number of people, couldn’t have produced a couple of clouds, let alone this clear blue sky. It’s been an absolutely stunning and spectacular day’s racing. I made it clear in the last week, having had a lot of discussion , clearly there has been a lot of publicity about Richard (Hughes) and his suspensions and the rules and so forth. We’ve had numerous conversations with Kevin Darley leading the Professional Jockeys’ Association and the individual jockeys in the sport: Ryan (Moore) Richard and everybody and I’ve made it clear that we were …  (kerfuffle)

2. P R “We all endorsed , and you endorsed, a set of rules that we put together. Now we’ve implemented them,  put them into practice … does it work? In practice, does it work –It’s a bit like buying a car, you take it out of the garage, it feels great, you put it in for a service and maybe, you know there are some tweeks that you need to do at the end of the day and some nuances and so forth, and I sense that this is the position we are in at the moment. So what I have agreed with everybody is that we’ll have a regular board meeting for the BHA on Monday morning and I’ve invited Kevin, who as you know heads up the PJA – the Professional Jockeys’ Association – and indeed some of the others, some of his team, that will probably include people like AP (McCoy) and so forth and Ryan and we’ll sit down and we will talk about the practicalities and the pragmatism of actually what’s going on here at the moment because, and nobody disagrees, it was absolutely right to bring some changes in place.”

3. PR “We’re a week on, it’s only actually a week ….
"Since we’ve and forgive the expression here, get up and running with this and obviously there are some serious quirks here. Let me say this, there are some serious quirks and we are going to sort this out.

4. PR “I do it (be BHA chairman) because I love and care for the sport. I think at the end of the day I sit here and say it’s a regulated sport. Christophe  (Soumillon) walked into that weighing room, he knew the rules as they pertain to today, he knew he had five whips inside the last furlong and he hit six times.

5. PR “I have to look at it at a very different position to that (to just a racing fan). You know that. I would say having said that,  I not oblivious to the circumstance we see ourselves in here and I think that pragmatism must rule. There has to be some common sense and speaking to Richard this afternoon, we’ve had a great conversation because I think, frankly, and I have told him I thought the reaction was over the top this week and I’m very concerned that it’s taken too much away from, as you just said , “what’s been an incredible day, and a fantastic week in the build-up to and we will get this sorted out.

6. PR “I’m not (angry or disappointed  with anyone at BHA) because ultimately at the end of the day I take the responsibility for that  (bringing the new whip rules now) as well , by the way, because we had a long debate about, and, by the way you know we consulted with goodness knows how many people on these rule changes and I won’t name the names but all the senior trainers that you see around here this afternoon, a lot of jockeys, everybody bought in. Now, so what does it really matter because here we are today and maybe it’s not working as we thought it was gonna work so therefore we maybe need an adjustment here and there and that’s what we’re getting to.”   

7. PR “I don’t mind (being lampooned) that’s part of the job. Part of the is, you know you have to take the plusses and you have to take the minuses. But I do think with hindsight, you want me to be very candid about it, I would say sitting back here now probably feel a lot better if we were running this through the winter season and not just now.

8. PR“It’s a set of circumstances and ultimately, as you rightly say,( Tim Morris and Jamie Stier) are the top professionals in their field in the sport and I think that’s not just me saying it, I think that’s recognised by everybody in the sport and I feel the other importaint thing here, by the way, as I was at the conference in Paris on the Monday after the Arc where all the international racing confederations come  together. We talk about all these issues and so forth, and yes I did talk about what we were doing, what we are changing and I didn’t hear anybody because I fundamentally believe that we  should show leadership in all of this internationally.

9. PR “Tim, I think is showing immense leadership across everything on withdrawals for drugs and so forth across the whole international. Tim Morris, who’s a leader in that and that is why he’s chairman of that world welfare group for the international racing federation. So we have, as you rightly point out, some excellent people and, by the way, because you’re an excellent person and really good at the job, it doesn’t mean you get it right every time, as I’m sure you would agree.
10. PR “We’ve got a terrific board with lots of input and expertise, whether it’s Mark Johnston or Morag Gray or the team on Monday and were going to have a proper full representation from the PJA with Kevin and the team that turns up.

11. PR “I think it (Champions Day) is so good and it’s been so spectacular that I don’t think you can take anything away from today, Nick, and I think for everybody in the industry who has bought into it. My mantra in all of this is that I love the sport and the traditions of the sport, that’s one of the things that encouraged me to get into the sport in the first place, and we now need to look forward and we need to compete, and we need to compete and with a racing product, not just worry about what is our income from gaming and so forth, and we need to compete, we need to compete with other sports, and with other countries. Therefore I love the tradition but I also want to modernise at the same time and that is what we have done by creating Racing for Change and Champions Day, so the public actually understand there’s a beginning, there’s a middle and there’s an end and there’s a finale to the racing season and we have champions  at the end of it.” END

(Racing Post Monday October 17th 2011)
"CHRISTOPHE SOUMILLON’S understanding of English is excellent but someone may have had to explain to him the meaning of Paul Roy’s answers to Nick Luck’s straight questions on Saturday; how some “quirks” referred to by the chairman of the BHA managed to cost the jockey more than what many riders earn in a year and why his answers, running to almost 2,000 words, carried not one shred of embarrassment or remorse.  Roy nearly got away with it, very nearly managed to get through the biggest day British racing has staged without having to account for how and why a major, now closely unworkable, change in the rule on whip use was allowed to sabotage what should have been a triumph. But emphatically he did not get away with it, by just one flick of the whip administered a fraction too late Roy was caught as surely as SOUMILLON caught CIRRUS DES AIGLES. The difference was  that the rider had a split second to decide, Roy had months to mull over the right time to introduce important changes that were bound to take time to understand, accept or amend. And what better than the richest prize of all to put Roy on the spot, to highlight the unfairness of the punishment for the stroke of the whip which, if issued 20 yards earlier would have carried as much of a sting for CIRRUS DES AIGLES but none for his jockey.

“ Does the punishment fit the crime?” Luck asked. Roy’s reply rambled through “the consultation  process”, around “numerous conversations” with the PJA and on “the clear blue sky” which had blessed the day if not his thinking.  It did not answer the question.

“Did  SOUMILLION  deserve to loose 40 grand?” Luck persisted. “He knew the rules,” was the nub of Roy’s answer. Then an admission that “It’s only a week since we got up and running with this”,  which of course is precisely the point about this terrible mistiming . Credit though to Roy for not blaming others for what Luck identified as “a PR balls-up”.  “I’ll take responsibility. If  I’d felt differently I’d have said so, Roy offered. “These things are very difficult, 50-50 (sic) hindsight is a great thing.” As he spoke, the racing writers at Ascot were trying to explain to gnarled editors what a fine day’s sport they had witnessed and that the story was not just about racing’s bungled suicide attempt by shooting it’s self in the foot.

“Sunday’s headlines showed some of them failed, with the largest circulation paper devotees three-quarters of their racing story to the whip debacle before mentioning some horse called FRANKEL.

“Of course Paul Roy does not have to answer to Nick Luck, the Racing Post or the Sunday papers, but ultimately he is accountable to all those who care about the future of British racing. As he said himself, “It was a judgement call”,  and again, sadly, the judgement of the man with responsibility for steering British racing has to be called into serious question.”



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