New rules to be "whipped" into shape
A settlement between jockeys and racing authorities over the controversial whip rules is a step closer following a crisis meeting between riders’ representatives and Australian Racing Board (ARB) officials.
Jockeys around the country walked off the job on Thursday after the ARB rejected their submission to change the rules which were introduced on August 1.
They rode over the weekend but threatened to take further industrial action this week including rolling strikes which would impact the multi million dollar spring carnival.
The meeting in Melbourne was attended by ARB chairman Bob Bentley and chief executive Andrew Harding who will report back to the rest of the board.
“This was about starting the talks and there is hope of a compromise,” ARB chief executive Andrew Harding said.
“It was a cordial, constructive and productive meeting.”
Victorian jockeys representative Ross Inglis was confident they were closer to a resolution.
“We haven’t reached an agreement, but we have made progress,” Inglis said.
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.
Jockeys are also now required to use a padded whip which lessens the impact on the horses.
Owners, trainers, breeders and punters have thrown their support behind the jockeys, saying the rule compromises their ability to get the most out of horses in a tight finish.
Under the rules, a winning rider can be penalised for a breach of the rules but connections of the runner-up have no recourse for protest.