Monday, 19 November 2018 01:02

Snaith wants clarity on whip

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Justin Snaith wants to see the present whip rules made easier to understand and made more specific.

The champion trainer spoke about abuse of the whip during an interview with Andrew Bon at Durbanville early last month.

The whip extract was shown on Tellytrack last week and, to put it mildly, raised a good many eyebrows.

He said: “We all know the rules about riding a horse to the finish but the stick work in South African racing has gone out of control.

“It is something that is becoming a bit of an issue and I think we need to get on top of it.

“I am making sure that it doesn’t cause too much hassle with my young horses and my jockeys are given strict instructions.”

When questioned about this, Snaith said: “I have noticed over the years that jockeys have got worse with using the whip and that the young riders coming through follow their example. In the minor centres the situation is even worse.

“When I looked at the rules I was surprised to see how vague they are. They are not strict enough for the stipes to take action and they are not sufficiently to the point.”

The relevant rule (58.10.2) states: “No rider shall misuse a crop or use a crop in an unnecessary or excessive manner, or use a crop on any part of the horse’s head.”

Snaith added: “Everyone in the racing industry wants change, including the jockeys, and the NHA is on board with this. What we change the rules to I don’t know. Equally I am not sure what we will end up with but people can’t watch a horse being hit 17 times anymore.”

It is rare, certainly in Cape Town, for senior jockeys in South Africa to be had up for excessive use of the whip. Occasionally they are accused of hitting a horse more than once in a horse’s stride, so not giving their mount a chance to respond, but otherwise the transgressors are normally over-enthusiastic apprentices.

To be fair to the jockeys, whip abuse in South Africa is far less common than it is in many other countries. You only have to watch British racing on Tellytrack to see how many riders hit a horse seven or eight times in a race while French ace Christophe Soumillon was hammered in the press for his whip use at the recent Breeders’ Cup meeting.

In last week’s Melbourne Cup no less than six jockeys (including the first three) were in trouble over the whip.

The Turffontein no-whip race, according to Snaith the brainchild of Mike de Kock, continues to make waves around the world. American sports broadcaster ESPN yesterday interviewed Snaith about his views on it, and on the whip generally.

Snaith said: “Personally I think no-whip races are a bit drastic. For the moment we just need to change the rules and then possibly review them after a year or so.” – Gold Circle

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