The controversial new whip rules are collaring significant column space in the press at the
moment. Here is JM’s position (as outlined in a letter to Bob Bentley at Queensland Racing):
I write to you about the new whip rules. I am afraid that they are creating outcomes which I am sure were not intended when the rules were introduced. A major inequity occurred on Saturday in the G3 Silver Shadow Stakes, which no doubt you have heard and read about. The result of that race may well have been altered because the jockey of the second placed horse stayed within the rules whilst the winning jockey ignored them. There is no power of redress, no way of changing the result, no means of protesting. In fact, there is no natural justice in the situation – all the wrong parties have suffered here, including the winning jockey who was penalized for trying too hard to win.
I fully understand why this rule was initiated. The motivation was good and I presume it was introduced to pre-empt animal welfare protests. However, the last few days of racing have shown us that the rule is dysfunctional and will create anomalies which may bring racing itself into disrepute and could scare off owners and punters. We must use the events of the last few days as a warning of what will continue to occur. I urge you to act now to revise this rule. As with many rules, modifications take place after the practical effect of the initial changes become evident.
Your introduction of the padded whip may be a good innovation. However, jockeys should be able to use their own discretion in the use of that whip and if they use the whip excessively with no obvious benefit, then they should be called in by the stewards and cautioned and/or fined. Full Stop.
Bob, there is furious debate on this at the moment amongst owners and punters here and we are looking to our administrators to take leadership and revise this rule immediately, given that we are already into the Spring Carnival. You will not be criticised for making changes, to the contrary, you will be praised for amending an untenable situation.
There are so many more pressing issues in our industry which are difficult to solve – but this is one you can fix.