Amateur jockey Robert Cooper has today said he is “gutted” after receiving a 52-day ban for excessive use of the whip on Elton Fox in a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter on December 31.
The BHA’s disciplinary panel issued the punishment after reviewing the ride and Cooper had hit the horse 23 times (12 without allowing time to respond).
“It’s not nice to get a ban like that and I didn’t think I was that hard on him,” Cooper told At The Races.
“I didn’t think I deserved that much, but that’s racing. Rules are rules and you can’t break them.”
“I hit him, I think it was, 14 times after the last, but I tried to tell them [the panel] that was my action and the way I was riding.
“Obviously some were connecting, but not intentionally, but they didn’t look at it that way.
“It’s very hard when you are in a driving finish riding for three miles in soft ground to keep a horse going. Everything takes over and it’s not like you’re thinking [about the number of hits].
“I know I was way too many over, but it wasn’t intentional. I don’t think it [the ride] is offensive in any shape or form.”
The victory provided Cooper, who works for Elton Fox’s trainer John Needham, with his first winner in 12 years.