By Ray Hickson
Significant financial penalties, including loss of winning percentage, or even a protest will come into play if any rider flouts the whip rules in Saturday’s $10 million The TAB Everest.
Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel has warned stewards will take a negative view of any jockey that deliberately breaks the rules of racing in the feature sprint at Royal Randwick.
Van Gestel said on race day stewards will inform all 12 jockeys involved, who stand to win around $290,000 for their percentage of first prizemoney, of their obligations under the rules of racing.
“We want the race run according to the rules and that’s all rules, not just the whip rule,’’ he said.
“If they do infringe their requirements to strike the horse no more than five times (before the 100m) potentially there will be significant penalties and that could include the forfeiture of the prizemoney.
“The rules allow us to actually rule the rider forfeits his entire percentage if they offend.
“We want to be upfront with the riders and say that’s the deterrent - if you breach the rules that could potentially be the consequence.’’
Jockey Tye Angland was fined $4000 after breaking the whip rule in winning the Spring Champion Stakes on Ace High last Saturday.
He used the whip nine times prior to the 100m plus each stride from there to the winning post.
The rule allows a jockey to strike a horse no more than 18 times in a race.
Prior to the 100m only five strikes are allowed then from the 100m a horse can be hit each stride to the post which is 13 times, provided the horse is responding and still in contention.
“If jockeys in the Everest, or any other race for that matter, are going to exceed the total that Tye Angland did on Ace High they can expect the penalty to be greater than a $4000 fine,’’ Van Gestel said.
But what about a protest?
Whip rule protests have been rare, and in some states stewards have basically said a whip rule protest could never be substantiated, Van Gestel said it’s not out of the question under the right circumstances.
“If there’s a significant breach and a small margin it may well be that the stewards could lodge an objection and give consideration to that,’’ he said.
“We’ve never ruled it out but there may be a case where the stewards can be satisfied that a horse has gained an advantage or sustained its effort for a long period of time with illegal whip use.’’