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New whip penalty guidelines announced

Racing Victoria (RV) has today announced new penalty guidelines for breaches of the national whip rules in Victorian flat races.

The new guidelines, which will come into effect from the start of the new racing season on 1 August 2020, have been developed in consultation with the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA).

They will provide a clear framework for all industry stakeholders, in particular riders, setting out a  minimum starting position for considerations on penalties that will be imposed by RV Stewards if a breach of Australian Rule of Racing (AR) 132(7) pertaining to whip use occurs.

Whilst minimums have been implemented, the final penalties will remain at the discretion of the Stewards in accordance with AR283, with higher fines and/or lengthier suspensions available for whip breaches in Group or Feature races and/or if a rider has a poor disciplinary record for whip related offences.

RV Executive General Manager - Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said: “We note the use of the whip and associated breaches of the national rules garners much debate, including in recent times a focus on the penalties being applied.

“All riders are expected to compete in accordance with the national rules and to that end, they should not use their whip outside the permitted limits. Should they do so and breach the whip rules then appropriate penalties are important for ongoing deterrence.

“Following extensive consultation with the VJA, we are  providing a new set of penalty guidelines from 1 August which provide greater clarity for all parties, serve as an important deterrence and ensure that the Stewards retain some flexibility to consider the circumstances of the race and the rider’s record.

“It is important to note that these guidelines reflect the minimum starting point for considerations on penalties to be imposed and that the Stewards will ultimately deliver penalties that they feel are appropriate in all the circumstances to encourage compliance to the rules.”

If a rider breaches AR132(7) in a Victorian flat race, the new penalty guidelines from 1 August 2020 are as follows:

AR132 Limits on the use of a whip by a rider:

(7) Subject to the other requirements in this rule:

  • (a) prior to the 100 metre mark in a race, official trial or jump-out;

(i) the whip must not be used in consecutive strides;

(ii) the whip must not be used on more than 5 occasions except where there have only been minor infractions and the totality of the whip use over the whole race is less than permitted under subrules (7)(a) and (b) and also having regard to the circumstances of the race, including distance and context of the race (such as a staying race or a rider endeavouring to encourage the rider’s horse to improve);

(iii) the rider may at the rider’s discretion use the whip with a slapping motion down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins;

(b) in the final 100 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out, a rider may use the whip at the rider’s discretion.