Jim Crowley hit with massive 20-day ban for breaching whip rules in King George

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Jim Crowley riding Hukum (right) wins the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes from Westover (Image: Getty)
Jim Crowley riding Hukum (right) wins the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes from Westover (Image: Getty)

Jim Crowley has been hit with a massive suspension for his winning ride on Hukum in the £1.25 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes at Ascot.

The jockey was found to have breached the whip rules in executing his winning ride in last Saturday’s showpiece race.

Crowley had been braced for a hefty ban after learning he had used his whip nine times over the final two furlongs, three strokes over the limit.

On Tuesday he learned he had been handed a huge 20 days suspension and fined a whopping £10,000 by the BHA Whip Review Committee.

The sentence begins on August 15 and covers every day when there is Flat racing until September 4.

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Among the big meetings he will miss is the Ebor Festival at York in which he was due to partner Royal Ascot winner Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International.

Hukum beat Westover by a head at the end of a titanic duel. Rob Hornby, who rode the runner-up, also breached the whip rules and was banned for four days for going once over the limit.

On Monday the BHA announced amendments to the whip rules following a six-month review period, but the changes would not have affected Crowley’s punishment due to the severity of his offence.

Speaking to ITV Racing before the findings were published, Crowley said: “It’s a huge punishment. I spoke to Rob and neither of us knew we had gone over.

“I had absolutely no idea. When we go out we are aware of the whip rules and aware of the severity of them.

“In the finish we are both thinking, ‘don’t go over’, as one thing and secondly you are trying to keep the momentum of your horse, you can’t cause any interference as a slight bump and you could get chucked out.

“You are trying to stay in rhythm with the horse and you are really in the zone.

“That is not to say you are not thinking about the whip because you are, but it is very difficult to be counting the strokes when you are in that scenario.

“It’s not a win-at-all costs ride, but it is so difficult, until you are in that situation yourself – it is hard to explain.

“Neither of us were aware we’d gone over, that’s the worrying thing. We got back to the weighing room and got a tap on the shoulder and straight away a feeling of dread comes over you.

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“The rules are the rules. Does the punishment fit the crime? I don’t think so, but I would say that. It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.

He added: “Some jockeys were consulted about the rules, there’s a bit of a stigma about that, but I can guarantee you know there isn’t a jockey in that weighing room who agrees with the rules.

“Neither jockey went out there to win at all costs. It was a mistake, it’s very unfortunate. He’s my favourite horse, it’s a shame it’s worked out this way.”

Jon Lees

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