Nothing plays havoc with a jockey’s whip count like gold at the end of a group 1 event but staying types need more encouragement than sprinters like Farnan, with proven brilliance against the basically untapped potential of six rivals.
Spring fever was tempered earlier this week when Racing Victoria moved to ban the whip with the proviso of encompassing safety for the rider.
“The current national whip rules are no longer appropriate and not in the best interests of Victorian and Australian racing, both now and in the long-term,” Racing Victoria maintained.
Jockeys, on a Racing Australia edict, supposedly the controlling body, are now allowed to apply the whip a maximum five times before the 100 metres and basically slather-and-whack subsequently.
“New framework is required to transition the industry to an ultimate prohibition on use of the whip for purposes other than to protect the safety of horses and jockeys”, Racing Victoria maintains.
From January 1, riders will only be permitted to use the whip on a maximum, between five and eight, number of occasions throughout the entire race and never in consecutive strides.
This will lead to an eventual prohibition on the tool that Racing Victoria figures “does not constitute a risk to equine welfare”. No doubt the present law governing the application isn’t good enough, particularly the limp stick approach regarding protests when jockeys get an advantage from breaching the strike and consecutive count.
Astute horsemen, like Ron Quinton, with the best interest of horse and man should be consulted by Racing NSW supremo Peter V’Landys to gain a worthwhile policy.
Don’t bag Victoria for practice. Get a better one. We, the punters, don’t want to see whip-free racing but it’s a new era, in some ways at least as good if not better than the past, emphasised by the Makybe Diva and Run To The Rose.
Perhaps the horses to beat in the Flemington 1600m sprint are Fierce Impact and Perfect Jewel, handled by the pride of the west Willie Pike. But only one mare has won the Makybe Diva in the last 23 years.
Fierce Impact, a gelding, appeals on his gutsy third to Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes, a high-rating event, at Randwick on August 22.
Verry Elleegant is trained by Chris Waller who notched yet another major triumph with Humidor in last Saturday’s Feehan at Moonee Valley. When he took over Humidor, successful in the Makybe Diva two years back, for the current preparation I remarked to him that it would be his finest training achievement to win a race with an eight-year-old burnout like Humidor who could not get hot in Perth.
Well, the Run To The Rose is a rare Waller-free zone where the pace of Farnan will be tested by dynamos Rothfire and Peltzer with North Pacific having the last crack, and imagine? Over the last 100 metres enforcers like Mick Dittman, Des Lake and Lester Piggott will come to mind but I’ll just have to make do with James McDonald.