Whip sanc­tions spike un­ex­plained

The Southland Times - - Sport - Mat Ker­meen

The Rac­ing In­tegrity Unit (RIU) is keep­ing a close eye on whip use af­ter a spate of whip-re­lated charges.

In the week end­ing No­vem­ber 4, 12 whip charges were is­sued by the RIU be­tween the har­ness and thor­ough­bred rac­ing codes.

In­cluded in the 12 charges, six drivers were sanc­tioned at one har­ness rac­ing meet­ing.

RIU gen­eral man­ager Mike God­ber said the spike of charges was an ‘‘ex­cep­tion­ally high week’’ but il­lus­trated the rules were be­ing strictly en­forced.

‘‘It’s some­thing we mon­i­tor very closely. Ev­ery race is ex­am­ined,’’ he said.

There were no whip-re­lated charges in ei­ther the har­ness or thor­ough­bred code the pre­vi­ous week (end­ing Oc­to­ber 28). Prior to that (end­ing Oc­to­ber 21) there was one whip charge in har­ness and none in the thor­ough­bred code.

Rac­ing’s wel­fare stan­dards have been thrown into the spot­light fol­low­ing the death of a Mel­bourne Cup run­ner on Tues­day.

Fol­low­ing the death, that was un­re­lated to whip use, Aus­tralian wel­fare group The Coali­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Race­horses has called for the whip to be banned.

God­ber said a high week – such as 12 charges – was un­likely to be the start of a trend.

‘‘There’s no rhyme or rea­son for it, some­times you will get a week where there are a num­ber of charges.’’

God­ber said to keep whip sanc­tions in con­text, the RIU com­pare monthly av­er­ages rather than iso­late one high or low week.

It keeps de­tailed records of all whip charges for re­views and com­par­isons.

Roughly av­er­aged out over the last month, the sanc­tions worked out at one a week in thor­ough­breds or one ev­ery five race meet­ings and just over four a week in har­ness or one charge per meet­ing.

Five drivers were fined and one was sus­pended at the Ti­maru Har­ness Rac­ing Club’s meet­ing on No­vem­ber 3.

Ju­nior driver Dar­ren Keast was sus­pended for us­ing the whip more than per­mit­ted and John Ver­steeg, Philippa Wake­lin, Gary Shand, Sam Payne and Nathan Pur­don were all fined ei­ther $200 or $300 on the same charge.

Penal­ties vary on a case by case ba­sis but the Ju­di­cial Con­trol Au­thor­ity – which hands down the sanc­tions – has penalty guide­lines in place.

Natalie Ras­mussen was hit with two charges of us­ing the whip more than per­mit­ted in one week. She was fined $1000 at the New Zea­land Met­ro­pol­i­tan meet­ing on No­vem­ber 2 and $300 for an ear­lier charge at the Kaik­oura meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 29.

If jock­eys and drivers are re­peat of­fend­ers they are hit with harsher penal­ties.

At the Auck­land Trot­ting Club on No­vem­ber 2, Jay Aber­nethy and Stephen Ar­gue were both fined $200 for us­ing their whips in con­tra­ven­tion of whip reg­u­la­tions.

In the thor­ough­bred code, jockey Terry Mose­ley was handed a sus­pen­sion of five rid­ing days for us­ing his whip prior to the 100-me­tre mark and Ja­son Lak­ing was fined $500 for ex­ces­sive use of the whip at the Banks Penin­sula Rac­ing Club’s meet­ing on No­vem­ber 4.

There were 12 whip charges is­sued for the week end­ing No­vem­ber 4.

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