Baster Fined For Whip Use

Recently enacted rules governing the use of the stick in thoroughbred racing have met with enough resistance from jockeys to spur Racing Victoria to issue a stern warning that the one-month grace period they had provided to give jockeys time to adapt to the rule changes is over.

The new rules went into effect on 1 December 2015. Racing Australia, bowing to animal rights activists, put a rule in place to prohibit use of the whip more than five times before the final 100m of a race. The other aspect of that rule stated that jockeys could not, outside the final 100m, use the whip on consecutive strides.

Stephen Baster, riding Mujadale in the 2800m Bagot Handicap on New Year’s Day, was fined $500 for using his whip nine times before the 100m mark. Since nine times exceeds five times by four, it was fairly obvious.

Baster and Mujadale won the race by less than a head over Danjeu and jockey Ben Helham, who was counted using the whip eight times ahead of the 100m mark. He was severely reprimanded but not fined. Bad jockey.

Stewards claimed to have gone lightly on Baster due to his good record and the fact that the Bagot is only a listed race. Baster’s comment on his use of the whip on Mujadale was priceless. “He takes a lot of riding,” he said. Kudos for succinctness.

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