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New whip rules: Lorcan Williams 'heartbroken' to miss Cheltenham Festival after 18-day ban for overuse of whip

Lorcan Williams to miss Cheltenham Festival after receiving 18-day ban for overuse of the whip in winning ride at Haydock on Saturday; Lunar Discovery becomes first horse to be disqualified under new rules after Charlotte Jones went four above permitted level

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Jockey Lorcan Williams says he is 'heartbroken' to miss the Cheltenham Festival due to an 18-day whip ban and explained his struggles adapting to the new rules, which came into effect this month.

A total of 19 jockeys have been handed bans after the first week of the British Horseracing Authority's (BHA) new whip rules, with one serious breach resulting in disqualification.

New regulations came into force on February 13 following a bedding-in period when the new penalty structure was not in force but jockeys were advised of the punishment they would have received for offences.

Charlotte Jones became the first jockey to see her horse disqualified after being found to have used her whip four times above the permitted level of seven when beaten a head into second on Jimmy Moffatt's Lunar Discovery at Ayr last Tuesday. Jones will be banned for 14 days (March 7-20 inclusive).

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Lorcan Williams is one of the higher profile names to fall foul of the regulations and he will miss the Cheltenham Festival having been given an 18-day ban for his winning ride on Makin'yourmindup at Haydock on Saturday.

Williams, who is attached to champion trainer Paul Nicholls' stable, was punished after driving home Makin'yourmindup in a narrow finish to the Grade Two Prestige Novices' Hurdle.

He was adjudged to have used his whip twice over the allowed amount, but as the race was a top level contest a harsher penalty was admonished, as befits the new structure. His suspension begins on March 7 and runs to March 24, meaning he will miss the Cheltenham Festival. Williams was also fined £1,050.

The rider of the second in that race, Kevin Brogan, also used his whip above the permitted level, with his extra strike costing him an eight-day ban, as suspensions in class one and two races are doubled.

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Whip bans handed out this week

Gavin Sheehan - 4 days (Glentruan, Catterick)

Conor O’Farrell – 4 days (Had to Be Hugo, Ayr)

Charlotte Jones – 14 days (Lunar Discovery, Ayr)

Luke Scott – 14 days (Progressive, Wetherby)

Caoilin Quinn – 4 days (Zhiguli, Sandown)

Dillan Hurst – 7 days (Les’s Legacy, Newcastle)

Edward Austin – 4 days (Millarville, Newcastle)

Jack Hogan – 4 days (Clear White Light, Newcastle)

Dylan Kitts – 4 days (Shesupincourt, Newcastle)

Niall Houlihan – 4 days (Inneston, Sandown)

Harry Kimber – 4 days (Letsbe Avenue, Leicester); 4 days (Htiti, Wincanton)

Toby McCain-Mitchell – 4 days (Vango De Vaige, Leicester)

Meisha Micklewright – 4 days (Santon, Leicester)

Alex Edwards – 7 days (Latitude, Kelso)

Aidan Coleman – 4 days (Zoffany Bay, Ascot)

Cameron Iles – 11 days (Yes No Maybe So, Ascot)

Lorcan Williams – 18 days (Makin’yourmindup, Haydock)

Kevin Brogan – 8 days (Collectors Item, Haydock)

Derek Fox - 7 days (Red Missile, Musselburgh)

Williams told Sky Sports Racing: "I'm absolutely devastated to be missing the four biggest days of the year. I'm heartbroken but I'll just have to take it on the chin and move forward.

"With all the emotion that comes across during a close finish and you're trying to finish in the best possible position.

"I ride on instinct and on Saturday I used the stick where I thought I needed it to ensure my best position. I wasn't aware of how many hits I had used - two of them were to correct my horse to make sure there was enough room for myself and Kevin Brogan.

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"The shoulder height rule is very difficult. I've trained my whole life a certain way and I'm one of the biggest jockeys in the weighing room and the technique I use is for the best welfare of the horse I'm riding. I've got very long arms and I've got to bring my arm over my head to make sure I'm making the right connection in the correct spot.

"It's a lot for a jockey to take on board and having all that held above us is very difficult."

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