Whip rule fiasco brings juicy quotes from critics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2009, 12:00am

The 'whip rule' fiasco in Australia stirred up some heated emotions and strike action by jockeys before what appears to be a reasonable compromise was reached yesterday.

Egged on by do-gooders who have in mind nothing but the eventual destruction of horse racing, and the jobs and government taxes it generates, racing officials have attempted to ingratiate themselves with such groups by imposing restrictions on the frequency of whip use at stages in the home straight.

Yesterday's tweaking of the rules has made the best of a difficult situation after jockeys were also forced to carry padded whips, a move that seemed like overkill when it first came up and the chickens came home to roost and leave their droppings in every corner last week.

The jockeys now have five months to see how they go with a less complicated set of obligations, but the emotions surrounding the matter brought a couple of tasty quotes from prominent citizens.

Shane Dye, now king of Mauritius, had some relevant home truths for Australian authorities when he spoke against the rules in an interview on radio, though he also managed to produce this little gem: 'I wish I was there riding in Australia to support the jockeys by not riding.'

However, he is not the award winner. That went to the head of the Royal Society For Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the state of Victoria, Hugh Wirth, in response to claims that the padded whip doesn't hurt horses.

'I've had a padded whip applied to my backside and, while I wouldn't say it was excruciatingly painful, I knew I'd been belted,' one Australian paper quoted Wirth, who did not reveal whether this was dealt by friend or foe and has either gone well beyond the call of duty in this matter or revealed rather too much of his private life.