While in the UK at the moment the furore continues over the introduction of new whip regulations, it’s been revealed that here in Australia the changes have caused far less fuss.
Changes were made to the way jockeys can use their whips about 12 months ago at the same time a newly designed padded whip was brought into use.
Like any new measure the first couple of weeks took some getting used to but now problems arising from it are few and far between.
Terry Bailey, chief steward for Racing Victoria explains that riders haven’t had to make a lot of adjustments to conform to the guidelines.
“The rule prevents riders using the whip more than five times before the 100m mark,” he said.
The legislation also seeks to limited jockey’s excessively using the whip in the final 100m, especially when the horse isn’t in a winning position.
Amazingly since the very day the new rules came into place in Victoria there hasn’t been a single appeal heard on the grounds of excessively using the whip.
“We’ve never had a protest lodged since the rules been in for over 12 months,” he said.
He says connections do have the right to launch a protest should their horse run second to a runner they feel has been whipped excessively.
“There are grounds if the connections think they’ve been disadvantaged by someone’s over use of the whip,” he said.
“To win an appeal on that basis though it would have to be a pretty straight forward blatant case.”
Bailey said stewards constantly monitor jockeys use of the whip on the lookout for individual breaches however they would be hesitant to alter the outcome of a race on those grounds.
“If there was a situation where a rider hit the horse 20 times or something we would step in,” he said.
“If it’s a case of one or two hits you won’t be hearing from us, it’s up to the connections.”
He says it would be a clear conflict of interests were stewards to start tipping off connections themselves.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate because we have to turn around and hear it, it’s up to the connections,” he said.