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Kavanagh Slams Whip Rules As "Confusing Minefield"

Wednesday, 6th October 2010

Leading Melbourne trainer Mark Kavanagh "says racing's excessive whip use rule is a confusing minefield," reported The Herald-Sun. Kavanagh "was frustrated when told (after correct weight had been declared for Sunday's Gr1 Turnbull Stakes) that winning jockey Nick Hall had broken the whip use rules on Zipping a 2nd time". Hall was fined $3,000 (20% of his winning riding fee) for using the whip 9 times before the last 100m; he did the same thing on Zipping in the Australian Cup in March for a narrow win over Sirmione & was fined $1,000. Kavanagh trained Turnbull runner-up Shocking (who was beaten by only a long head). Meanwhile Stathi Katsidis (rider of 3rd -placed Shoot Out) was fined $500 for illegal use of the whip. Kavanagh declared: "There are a lot of grey areas about the whip rules & the stewards need to come clean. If it's an offence you can be penalised for, then can they take a race off you?" The rules do not allow a jockey to use the whip more than 5 times in a forehand motion before the last 100m of a race; there is unlimited use in the last 100m. Racing Victoria chairman of stewards Terry Bailey confirmed a horse "could be stripped of a race under extreme circumstances" noting: "If circumstances arise where we believe there are sufficient grounds to lodge a protest, then we will & possibly uphold it. I had concerns with Nick Hall's whip use immediately after the race & asked my deputy Robert Cram to delay correct weight until we'd looked at the race, which we did & decided not to protest. The spirit of this rule is to protect against somebody who just totally throws the rules out the window, not breaks the limit by 2 or 3 hits." But Kavanagh said stewards should have alerted Shocking's connections to a potential whip breach by Hall, emphasising: "I was watching my horse, not Zipping. I didn't see what Nick Hall did. It's the same with my rider (Michael Rodd). He's only worried about his own horse & how he's using the whip, not his rivals. Surely it's the responsibility of stewards to advise (beaten) trainers & jockeys in a situation like that." However Bailey disagreed, stating: "We're not in a position to encourage people to protest."

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