Seamus Heffernan has been given a 22-day ban for using the whip on his horse above the limit. On Sunday, at the Prix du Jockey Club, he used the whip on his horse, Order Of Australia 11 times, that’s 6 times above the ordered limit.
The rules of French races were modified last year, and the limit for whips was reduced to just 5. Stewards were given the freedom to give punishments based on the number of hits above the limit.
Heffernan had already finished the race at the seventh place before he was told by the stewards that he had overused the whip and would be banned. The ban adds more to Heffernan’s break from racing because he would be subject to a 14-day quarantine break when he gets back to Ireland. When you add the ban to that, it exceeds one month.
Speaking on the ban, Heffernan tried to explain the reason for the many strikes, explaining that the horse was going over the rail and he had to stop it, although stating the suspension was fair. He said, “I got a fairly strong suspension, but there are strict rules there. My horse was going to go over the rail, I had white paint all around my boot, but those are the rules, and that’s the way it was. He was on the rail and going to hang in over the rail, and I thought he was going through it, so I was using my stick for safety reasons. But the rules are what they are. I’m really, really sorry that it probably looked bad, but I felt I had to do it at the time to stop the horse colliding with the rail.”
He also revealed that he would not be appealing the case, stating that worse things were happening to people around the world. Heffernan suffered a similar fate in 2012 when he was banned for seven days and fined £550, for also breaking whip rules.
Written by: Leon Osamor