Thoroughbred Racing Whip Rule Slaps Williams with $3,000 Fine

Jockey Craig Williams may have thought that the whip rules were more like guidelines than actual rules.

Whatever the case, the stewards at Caulfield determined that Williams was using the stick on Hartnell a bit too liberally. They fined Williams $3,000 for using his crop nine times on Hartnell in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes prior to reaching the 100-metre line.

The maximum number of strikes permitted is five.

Hartnell and Williams won the C F Orr Stakes by a short head, which inevitably led to some speculation that the excessive stick use could have been responsible for the victory.

Williams was supposed to face the stewards following the last race at Caulfield Saturday past, but Williams was “indisposed,” whatever that means. We can recall being indisposed as youngsters, to which our dad would say, “Well, you should have thought of that before we left.”

Williams has a previous suspension of six meetings for an excessive whip use conviction at the same track last month. One would think: Lesson learned, but in this case, apparently not.

On the prior occasion, Williams used his crop 11 times before the 100-metre line.

“I know what you’re thinking, punk” Dirty Harry Callahan told his perpetrators in the 1971 film, Dirty Harry. “Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.”

It is doubtful that Williams is familiar with Dirty Harry, as he was not born until six years after the movie was released, but the analogy still seemed apt, at least to us.

Williams could always fall back on the defense that he is showing improvement, down from 11 to nine.

Second place finisher Single Gaze could easily have lodged a protest, as Williams was guilty of a breach of the rules of racing.

Williams did go before the steward on Monday, as he was disposed at that time. The stewards will issue a report regarding the incident sometime on Wednesday.

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