Suspensions – as opposed to fines – for exceeding the 12-strike whip limit could be on the way but it looks as if thoughts of including the use of the whip in the backhand positon in the 12 permitted will be dropped.
When the whip rule was introduced on May 10 the initial stipes reports stated that “The general use of the crop will be monitored until 31 May. Until this time the limit of 12 crop strikes will apply.”
Senior racing control executive Arnold Hyde explained yesterday: “The monitoring of crop use really pertains to the use of the crop in the backhand position with the hands on the reins, and to see if the 12 strikes should include the backhand but it looks as if the backhand is not being abused at all. It’s possibly a bit early to say this but at the moment 12 strikes is where we want to be bearing in mind that we only introduced a number on May 10.”
So far fines have usually been the order of the day, even for repeat offenders (Serino Moodley last week was a notable exception), but more suspensions are on the horizon. Hyde said: “We are still in the initial stages of our rule but in other jurisdictions there are harsher penalties and the way the world of racing is going we definitely have to consider that angle.”
In France, for instance, jockeys are limited to five strikes as they are in Germany where the five includes slaps down the shoulder. German jockeys also face a mandatory 14-day suspension, even for the first offence, and the loss of their share of the stakes. Sliding scale suspensions apply to jockeys in France who use the whip more than ten times – 11 days for 11 strokes, 12 days for 12 strokes etc.
In Australia the rules have recently been changed to allow objections to be made against a jockey who exceeds the limit, and that could also come here.
Hyde said: “There is a view that if a jockey contravenes the rule he is gaining an advantage over the rest who are keeping within the rule, so we would have to look very seriously at this. There needs to be a level playing field for all and, if someone breaking the rules gains an advantage, there should be a penalty that is appropriate.”
By Michael Clower