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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Jockeys Whip Up Industrial Action
Jockeys Whip Up Industrial Action 19/09/2009

Racing has been front page news again this week for all the wrong reasons.

If racing is going to make the front page it should only be for traditional reasons such as organised crime links. It is a such a shame to waste quality detrimental media coverage with jockeys striking over changes to whipping rules.

For those of who were not following the blow by blow battle, there was an extremely bitter dispute between the ARB (Australian Racing Board) and the AJA (Australian Jockey’s Association) over who has the coolest TLA (Three Letter Acronym), and whose embroidered cap looked better. High powered meetings to resolve the issue last week failed when one party stole the other party’s cap and proceeded to play Keepings Off till someone’s mum had to be called in to break it up. Hence the strike.

This situation has arisen after the introduction of new rules regarding use of the whip. A new padded whip has been introduced, which is supposed to cause no pain, but conversely the whip can only be used sparingly. Whipping from above the shoulder is banned. Fair enough. Whipping more than five times before the 200M is banned. OK. On one occasion in the last 200M the whip may be used in three consecutive strides, otherwise the whip shall not be used in consecutive strides. Huh ? Confusing as they are the new rules also fail to stipulate who is the whip-er, who is the whip-ee and whether either party is entitled to any whoop-ee before, during or after the whipping.

In a Turf Deli exclusive we can reveal these new whip rules are only the beginning, with new rules to be phased in over the next 5 years to produce as politically correct racing product as possible.

Rules include :

- move from the padded whip to the fluorescent, brightly coloured, totally safe and fun for all the family NERF whip. Those of who are too young to have lived through the Golden Age of NERF ask Aunty Google.

- a ban on jockeys using pressure points on their mounts. If a jockey wants to put a horse to sleep during the run the sleeper hold is NOT an option.

- a ban on smacking horses to mirror moves in our schools that corporal punishment is an outdated form of discipline. Naughty horses instead go to a time out room for the remainder of the race

- an education program to cut down on bullying and name calling on the race track. Calling blinkered horses “Four Eyes” is not on. “Four legs” is just plain offensive, as is “Useless Nag”. Terms such as “Whoa Boy” and “Go Boy” are also offensive to black horses as Bert Newton found out at the Logies in 1979.

- introduction of the odds and evens rationed whipping system. Odd numbered horses can be whipped on odd numbered strides in odd numbered races. Even numbered horses can water their gardens on every other day.

- reduce competition and encourage participation for all. Rather than a shiny trophy, reward each horse with a nice ribbon for participation.

- phasing in of Velcro horse shoes. This macho culture of having the shoes nailed on is outdated and just has to stop.

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