Racing Victoria set to ban the whip
Racing Victoria is set to advocate the gradual banning of the whip, unless it’s a safety measure.
In what represents a significant change for the sport, RV has indicated a firm view the current rules guiding the whip must go, highlighting community expectations that “the current national whip rules are no longer appropriate and not in the best interests of Victorian and Australian racing, both now and in the long-term”.
The whip rule, currently set by Racing Australia, allows jockeys to whip their horse a maximum five times before the 100m, and essentially unlimited from there.
The ongoing use of the whip and the subsequent enforcement of the rule has caused industry and community debate.
But Monday’s announcement is the strongest yet from any state regarding the whip, with RV of the view “that padded whips do not constitute a risk to equine welfare, however it is clear that their ongoing use is becoming less compatible with community expectations each year.”
Racing Victoria today released a statement saying the body “is of the view that a new framework is required to transition the industry to an ultimate prohibition on use of the whip for purposes other
than to protect the safety of horses and jockeys”.
And RV want to start the process to an eventual ban within months, proposing a vote at the Racing Australia Board meeting in November that jockeys are only allowed to whip their horse between five and eight times each race.
“RV will propose that, from 1 January 2021, riders are only permitted to use the whip on a maximum number of occasions throughout the entire race and never in a horse’s consecutive strides. RV is proposing that the maximum number be between five and eight occasions per race,” its statement said.
Such restrictions would bring racing in Australia with other jurisdictions around the world.
RV had taken its views on whip use to the Racing Australia Board in February, but a consensus within the board and other states could not be reached.
RV is now saying that if a consensus cannot be , it will “explore alternative approaches to achieve meaningful progress on whip reform.”
RV CEO Giles Thompson said its strong position on reforming the use of the whip is to ensure the sport attracts future fans.
“As industry leaders, we are charged with not only managing the sport today but ensuring that it remains vibrant and successful for generations to come. Making progress on whip reform is important if we want to retain our existing audiences and ensure that we’re an attractive option for the fans and employees of tomorrow,” he said.
“It is Racing Victoria’s view that progress on whip reform is needed now, and that the industry nationally, acting in its best long-term interests, should continue to work towards a prohibition on the use of the whip for purposes other than to protect the safety of horses and jockeys. It is critical that jockeys are permitted to carry a whip to ensure their safety and jockey safety is something that we will always advocate.”
“We want to reduce the number of times the whip can be used in Victorian racing, and indeed nationally, from 2021. This would be an important step in the right direction for our industry, one that recognises the progression of community attitudes in the decade since padded whips were first introduced.
“Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and key states in the USA have either implemented or announced significant reductions in permitted whip use and have seen great competitive racing continue. At
this time Australian racing has been left behind when it comes to reforms on whip use.
“The industry will always be best served by a national approach to whip reform and this is something
that we desire, however to this point that has not been achievable. We believe that prompt progress on whip reform is in the best interests of Australian racing and we are encouraging the Racing
Australia Board and other states to join us in making meaningful steps this year.
“In doing so, we will be consulting with our key stakeholder groups over the coming months on the implementation of specific rules that would see important whip reform achieved through a
reduction in the permitted number of occasions that it can be used in a race.”