Bentley to negotiate whip rules with Jockeys
Australian Racing Board chairman Bob Bentley says he will negotiate with jockeys to try to avoid a strike over the whip rules but has told other industry participants they are not welcome.
Bentley says he is prepared to go to Melbourne for discussions with jockeys but not with owners, trainers or breeders groups.
"I’m happy with sit down with jockeys but I’m not going to sit down with a thousand other people," Bentley told Sky Racing.
"The door has always been open, it was never closed, but we don’t need these other people or mediators."
Owners, trainers and breeders have thrown their support behind the jockeys’ bid to have the rules regarding restricted use of the whip amended.
They say their interests and those of punters are being compromised by the rules which came into force on August 1 along with a modified padded whip which lessens the impact on the horses.
Bentley also took aim at Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy who called jockeys in behind closed doors at Rosehill on Saturday to propose a compromise.
"Ray Murrihy does not have the authority to have such a discussion," Bentley said.
"Everyone should stick to their own jobs."
Jockeys around the country walked off the job on Thursday after the ARB rejected their submission and threatened to strike again after Monday’s racing.
Leading jockeys Corey Brown and Damien Oliver were present at the ARB meeting and were disappointed with the result, saying they were prepared to strike even if it put the multi million dollar spring carnival in jeopardy.
"These are some of the biggest changes that have been introduced to racing in over 100 years," Oliver said.
"Jockeys can’t be expected to adapt overnight to these conditions. They have been forced upon us, they haven’t given us the chance to work under these rules."
The ARB said last week it would review the rules again as scheduled in February.
But jockeys say it is already unworkable and has become a safety issue.
Jockeys have put forward the case to be able to use their discretion over how many times they hit horses in the last 100 metres of a race as long as they are in contention.
Under the new rule, riders can use the whip for five strikes before the 200m.
Inside the 200m, they are restricted to three consecutive strikes and apart from that they can only use the whip every second stride.
By Caryl Williamson