Hanagan: Racing under a cloud

Champion jockey Paul Hanagan believes that the implementation of new whip rules has created a "cloud" hanging over the weighing room.

Hanagan feels sympathy for colleague Richard Hughes, who relinquished his licence last night after picking up a second ban in a matter of days, and says that the punishment does not fit the crime.

Writing on his At The Races blog, Hanagan, who pipped Hughes in a monumental tussle for the championship last season, admits he is finding it difficult to adapt.

“Make no mistake, there will hardly be a jockey with a licence who won’t have sympathy with Richard Hughes and I, for one, understand his frustration,” said Hanagan.

“I can assure you that in all the time I’ve been riding the atmosphere in the weighing room has never been so bad, there’s a cloud hanging over it.

“My view on the penalties is that they just don’t fit the crime and are totally out of proportion.

“The ironic thing is that it’s the easiest rule to implement and police by just watching a TV screen and counting the number of strokes.

“But in the heat of a race, especially a big one, there are plenty of other things to think about as well as the number of times you’ve used the whip.

“I’ve been practising since before it came out and I do find it difficult.”