Whip Rules Under Review Changes Could Affect Fall Carnivals

Racing Australia has announced a review of the controversial whip rules that went into effect for Australian thoroughbred racing in December of 2015.

Penalties for excessive whip use will remain in effect during the course of the review, however, according to Racing Australia Chief Executive Peter McGauran.

The rules have generated much controversy. It is not hard to imagine that a jockey with a chance for a win at any level might weigh the benefits of winning the race versus the fines for excessive whip use and conclude that winning is the more profitable course.

Then, there was the loophole, quickly utilised, that backhand whip strokes do not count toward the limit of five before the final 100 m of a race.

McGauran claims that disallowing unlimited backhand strokes make the sport of racing more palatable to the animal rights crowd, but that is an unrealistically rosy view, given that the group would be satisfied with nothing less than total abolition of the sport of racing in all codes.

Jockeys had hoped for a moratorium on the regulations while the rules are being reviewed.

It is a waiting game for the moment. The Racing Board will not discuss the situation until it meets in September. If any amendments are made at that time, it could mean that jockeys will be riding under very different rules during the fall carnivals.

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