Jockey Chris Symons believes Australia’s whip rules need to be significantly changed
Experienced jockey Chris Symons believes Australia’s whip rules need to be significantly changed.
The 37-year-old, who has ridden in more than 12,000 races, told RSN927 on Thursday morning that he thinks it’s time racing adapted to the expectations of society and stopped using the whip behind the saddle in races.
“I’ll probably lose friends and colleagues for this comment, but it’s 2019 and perception is 99 per cent of everything, and for that reason, there needs to be changes with the use of the whip,” Symons said.
“The public are speaking and we need to take it into account.”
Australia’s whip rules allow jockeys to use the whip five times before the 100-metre mark and an unlimited number of times over the final 100m.
Symons asserts though that restricting the number times that a jockey can use the whip in the final 100m is a logical and easy change that will benefit the industry.
“All publicity, photographs and images that are used to promote our industry, those photos are taken in the last 100 metres of a race, all the jockeys have their hands above their heads, so that’s a bad look for us,” he added.
While Symons says change is required, he is still of the opinion that jockeys need to carry whips for safety reasons.
“Jockeys should still be able to carry the whip but there needs to change with the use of it,” he said.
“The argument from the jockeys is it’s a safety issue, it’s like sending a builder to a construction site without a hammer.
“I am still of the belief the whip or the persuader doesn’t hurt the horse, but it shouldn’t be allowed to be used behind the saddle.”