Bernard's Blog - 30 August

Bernard Saundry
30 August 2019

There was some interesting news out of Australia this week regarding the use of whips in races.

What was encouraging was the fact it was driven by those involved in the industry, rather than activists.   The New South Wales Trainers’ Association is pushing for Australia to come into line with other racing jurisdictions and further reduce the number of times the whip can be used in a race.

According to a report out of Australia by Adam Pengilly, the NSWTA has stepped up its campaign to have rules amended around whip use.

Change is certainly afoot world-wide when it comes to awareness that the industry needs to take a strong look at whip use and how it can continue to defend it as we strive to maintain our social licence to operate.

Norway banned the use of whips on humane grounds, while South Africa has recently trialled whip-free racing and the French have lowered the number of times the whip is permitted to be used in a race to five times.

The rules in Australia currently allow the jockey to use the whip five time prior to 100-metre mark of a flat race.  Over the final stages of the race the use is unlimited.

What the NSWTA is calling for is the removal of that unrestricted use in the final stages and instead limiting the use of the whip to between five and seven times in total in any race.

Apparently, members of the NSWTA argue that the industry would be better placed to make a move on whip use now, rather than wait until the future and allow external forces dictate what happens.

Whip use is also something which has been high on NZTR’s agenda for some time.  Our guidelines are regularly assessed and updated to ensure we are operating in line with our closest racing jurisdiction.

This recent development in Australia is something we will be watching keenly.  We believe it is only right that changes to the way we use the whip are industry driven, rather than something which is forced upon us by external forces, so watch this space.

Earlier this week the NZTR Members’ Council met to interview the three candidates for the vacancy on the NZTR Board created by Dean McKenzie taking up his role with RITA.  We are looking forward to having a full complement around the Board table at the next Board meeting on 19 September.

Like everyone, I am looking forward to a fabulous day’s racing at Hawke’s Bay on Saturday for the first of our Group One races, the Tarzino Trophy. 

Good luck to all those racing on the day, and a special thank you to the connections of Danzdanzdance who have agreed to carry the Cancer Society Daffodil Day colours in the Tarzino.  It is a wonderful cause and one which has touched the lives of most of us.

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