RACING fans reacted angrily to a Cheltenham Festival poster in which Rachael Blackmore's whip has been airbrushed out.
The Jockey Club have launched a promotional campaign throughout London for the Festival, which kicks off on March 14.
It features an image of Blackmore winning the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard 12 months ago.
But eagled-eyed racing fan and former journalist Tony Coleman noticed that her whip was missing from the picture.
It immediately sparked a fierce response from racing fans on social media.
One said: "You have to believe in the product you are selling. Most equine sports have a whip, if you have to hide something to entice a new audience you're admitting that you don’t believe in the product."
Another added: "By airbrushing the whip out it looks as if they are embarrassed to show it. Good advertisement for racing it isn’t."
While Sun Racing's own Matt Chapman weighed in: "Racing should be utterly embarrassed about this – and another sign the sport @BHAHorseracing @TheJockeyClub don’t believe in their own product. To airbrush a whip out is pathetic."
By airbrushing the whip out of the image, the Jockey Club have been accused of being 'insecure' and 'embarrassed'.
A Jockey Club spokesperson said: “We recognise there are diverse views on the whip and have a wide range of images and content that are used to attract all sports fans.
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"We’re proud of our sport and the iconic moments it creates for fans of all walks of life and remain deeply committed that racing is a sport for all.”
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It comes at a time when the whip is provoking a passionate debate throughout the sport.
New whip rules were launched on Monday, with jockeys facing severe penalties for any future breaches.
And BHA chief Julie Harrington has been on the receiving end of some flak for her comments over the whip at a global racing conference this week in Australia.
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