Jockeys from around the country are condemning the new whip rules, sparking a heated debate between some of Australia’s greatest racing identities and officials.
As jockeys face to lose a percentage of their winnings and a suspension if caught abusing the whip, many have come out stating that jockeys will have too much difficulty adapting to the new rules.
Describing the new rules as “absolutely ridiculous”, Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee Jim Johnson is not at all impressed.
Agreeing with Johnson is Ross Inglis from the Victorian Jockeys’ Association and champion trainer Lee Freedman who both agree that the new rules are unworkable and unsound.
Yet not all jockeys are in uproar over the changes with jockey Corey Brown agreeing a change was needed, however he has stated that the new rules should be slightly amended.
His comments come after he was beaten in the group three Silver Shadow Stakes by jockey Daniel Ganderton who illegally used his whip in the last 200 metres.
Ganderton incurred a $3900 fine and a suspension for six meetings however his horse was able to keep the win, triggering debate over whether or not owners will simply wear the cost of the jockey’s fees to finish first.
Acting RADB chairman Brian Forest has agreed that there has been a difficult transition process since the rules were enforced on August 1.
However Judge Forrest is expecting all jockeys to start using horsemanship rather than flailing the whip during races in an effort to gain more community support.
Surprisingly, New South Wales jockeys are not as angry about the new rules but Racing NSW Chief Steward Ray Murrihy is still reminding riders to abide by the necessary rules.
His statement comes just before the Golden Rose where severe penalties will be enforced for breaking the rules including up to $35,000 in fines plus a suspension.
The AJA is planning to lobby for a softening of the rules, claiming that jockeys will have too much trouble focusing on the whipping rather than on winning, particularly with the Spring Majors such as the Melbourne Cup attracting fines of up to $75,000.
Some media organisations have also questioned the new rules, asking whether Blake Shinn would have won last year’s Melbourne Cup with Viewed if he was made to limit his whip use on the horse in the last 200 metres.
The new whip rules state that a horse may only be hit three consecutive times in the last 200m and 5 times before the last 200m also, jockeys are forbidden to lift the whip above shoulder height or use the whip above the horse’s shoulder.