With little fanfare, Racing Australia (RA) publicly released their updated whip rule prior to Christmas.
The rule, which came into effect from 1 January 2017 (the exception was Western Australia, where the new rule will apply from 1 February 2017), will be the third such major change to the whip rule in the last four and a half years.
This latest change follows a string of fines (>$350K) and suspensions incurred by riders for excessive whip use prior to the 100mtrs mark. This culminated in RA calling for submissions in August 2016 from industry participants (the ATA was one such participant who made a submission), seeking proposals on ways to counter the growing Australia wide discontent with the revamped rule RA introduced December 2015.
What has transpired with the latest rule change is a win for common sense. In many ways, it is back to the future, with our stewards again able to use their discretion to police whip use prior to the 100mtrs, by taking into account the whole race, including the race context and type, in determining whether a ‘true’ rule breach has occurred. The December 2015 rule had largely eliminated the discretionary element, making it black and white in application.
The new rule as it relates to whip use prior to the 100mtrs mark, with the change highlighted, is below:
(a) In a race, official trial or jump-out prior to the 100 metre mark;
(i) The whip shall not be used in consecutive strides.
(ii) The whip shall not be used on more than 5 occasions save and except where there have only been minor infractions and the totality of the whip use over the whole race is less than permitted under AR.137A(5)(a) and (b) and also having regard to the circumstances of the race including distance and context of the race, such as a staying race or a rider endeavouring to encourage his mount to improve.
(iii) The rider may at his discretion use the whip with a slapping motion down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins.
(b) In the final 100 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out a rider may use his whip at his discretion.”
Should you wish to provide your feedback in writing in relation to this matter, please do so by CLICKING HERE
Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this matter with myself.
Chief Executive Officer