Irish jockey Jamie Codd received a 17-day ban for whip use at Aintree

South African trials of whip-less races are being “monitored with interest” by the British Horse Racing Authority.

The first race was held on Saturday, with the country’s horseracing authority saying it was “a statement that needed to be made”.

Jockeys have been criticised for overuse of the whip, most recently in the Breeders Cup and Melbourne Cup.

In a 2018 YouGov poll for Animal Aid, 68% of respondents were opposed to jockeys using whips.

The British Horse Racing Authority said: “As part of the international racing community the BHA always monitors regulatory developments in other jurisdictions with interest.”

Harsher penalties have been administered for overuse of the whip since new rules were introduced in 2011.

Irish jockey Jamie Codd was given a 17-day ban during a race at the Aintree festival earlier this year, but BHA figures show that whip offences have reduced by a half since 2010.

In 2011, the number of times a jockey’s whip can be used during a race was halved to seven in flat races and eight in races over jumps.

A maximum of five strokes can be administered in the last furlong or from the final obstacle.

After introducing a first whip-less race, acting chief executive of South Africa’s Horse Racing Authority Arnold Hyde told the Racing Post: