Racing Victoria calls on whip reform

By Aydin Payne

Horse racing enthusiasts may see a change to the sport next year after Racing Victoria signalled a push for whip reform.

On Monday afternoon, Racing Victoria (RV) issued a statement which called for the gradual prohibition of the whip to be used, unless it's a safety measure.

The statement said RV was seeking national action on whip reform in Australian thoroughbred racing.

RV unveiled it will push for a vote to reduce the amount of times jockeys can whip during a race at November's Racing Australia Board meeting.

RV has proposed from January 1, 2021 that the maximum amount of whip strokes in a race be limited to no more than five to eight times.

The current rules permit the use of the whip five times before the 100 m mark, and at the rider's discretion from there until the post.

RV believes the current national whip rules are no longer appropriate.

“As industry leaders, we are charged with not only managing the sport today, but ensuring that it remains vibrant and successful for generations to come,” RV chief executive Giles Thompson said.

“Making progress on whip reform is important if we want to retain our existing audiences and ensure that we’re an attractive option for the fans and employees of tomorrow.

“It is Racing Victoria’s view that progress on whip reform is needed now, and that the industry nationally, acting in its best long-term interests, should continue to work towards a prohibition on the use of the whip for purposes other than to protect the safety of horses and jockeys.”

The calls for change from RV come after long-held debate surrounding the use of a whip in racing from the industry and broader community.

In its statement, RV said "padded whips do not constitute a risk" to horse welfare, but added "ongoing use is becoming less compatible with community expectations each year".