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BROWNIE'S BLOG: THE WHIP STRIKE RULE AND LATE NIGHT RACING ... SOMETHING HAS GOT TO CHANGE

By Damian Browne | Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Multiple Group 1 jockey Damian Browne puts the inaction on whip rule protest results into perspective following the saga at Doomben on Saturday. He also calls those who schedule extra late night racing to account in this edition of Brownie's Blog which appears exclusively on HRO

So where are we with the whip rule?

With Brad Stewart’s whip rule protest being dismissed at Doomben on Saturday, even though it was established that the winner had breached the whip rule, the debate is on again.

Usually we ride and the race is run on the understanding that if you break a rule you face the consequences.

That is the way it is supposed to be, but with the whip rule it has been shown time and time again that hasn’t applied ... or at least there has been no consequences in terms of the race result ... and I think that is very frustrating thing for not only those watching but for the participants as well and for the punters who are doing their money.

We, as jockeys, don’t really know where we stand. We are allowed to protest on the basis of the whip rule being breached but, on the results so far, we seem to be wasting our time by doing so.

In fact, whether this correct or not, the general perception of many racegoers is that stewards will not uphold a whip protest in the current circumstances.

All that jockeys who feel they have been compromised by a rival jockey’s excessive use of the whip can do is make a point, as Brad did on Saturday ... and, even if he was never going to win the argument, the point was well worth making because it showed up just how ridiculous a situation this aspect of racing has become.

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There is a school of thought that says if a whip protest is never going to be upheld the whip protest option should be taken out of the rule book ... but that the option to penalise the rider for his or her indiscretion should remain firmly in place.

Let’s be real about that.

All that does is bring us to the point where owners could say ... you just do what you have got to do to win and I will pay your fine or compensate you for whatever penalty you get.

Arguably that hypothetical situation could even encourage jockeys to break the rules in the ‘right’ circumstances.

If anybody goes ahead and does that, to me, that is just blatantly breaking the rules and those actions should have serious consequences.

The bottom line for any jockey is that if you are riding within the rules of racing and get beaten by somebody who isn’t ... and there are no consequences in terms of the result of the race ... you can’t help feeling aggrieved ... as will owners, as will punters.

Try explaining it to some of them! It is a very unsatisfactory situation.

So, in my opinion, it would not be appropriate to leave the whip rule in but take the protest option out.

That wouldn’t help matters at all. It might just complicate it all the more.

Full article

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
With Brad Stewart’s whip rule protest being dismissed at Doomben on Saturday, even though it was established that the winner had breached the whip rule, the debate is on again. (Brad is in the blue cap)
With Brad Stewart’s whip rule protest being dismissed at Doomben on Saturday, even though it was established that the winner had breached the whip rule, the debate is on again. (Brad is in the blue cap)
I rode a winner (Siliqua) at five past ten on Friday night at the Sunshine Coast night meeting.

It made my evening more worthwhile but it didn’t change my view that I don’t think anybody should be racing at that time of night

Photos: Graham Potter
I rode a winner (Siliqua) at five past ten on Friday night at the Sunshine Coast night meeting.

It made my evening more worthwhile but it didn’t change my view that I don’t think anybody should be racing at that time of night

Photos: Graham Potter
HRO photographs from Doomben and Eagle Farm race-meetings are now available for sale. NB to non-winning connections only.
Please direct all queries to photos@horseracingonly.com.au
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