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Aussie Jockeys Whip into a Strike

Thu, Sep 10, 5:16pm by Kevin Pitstock

Australia horse racing jockeys have gone on strike today with controversy and tempers raging. With all of the days racing action lined up the Ballina Cup day is the only one goiong ahead. It all started with Victorian jockeys understandably unhappy about a new rule change involving whipping the horses.

Last Thursday the Australian Racing Board met to discuss relaxing the rule just a little. The jockeys were seeking an amendment to the rule that would allow them to whip in the final 100 yards if their horse was in contention.

In an interview that Corey Brown did on Sky Racing he told them that the jockeys will be fighting the rule vigorously. Brown has already been suspended because of his repeated breaking of the rule on the weekend. He claims that jockeys have far too much to think about to be counting how many times the strike the horse. To go along with that, some horses repsond remarkably well to the whip. Larry Cassidy supported this argument by saying that it goes against the true grain of racing by not giving the horse the best possible chance to win the race.

The jockeys association has blasted the Australian Racing Board by claiming that they are out of touch when it comes to rules and regulations. This new rule is not the standard in the industry. Here is what they had to say:

“With its decision today to ignore the call of all stakeholders to make a minor variation to the rules relating to the whip, the ARB has succeeded in unleashing a great bitterness and division between stakeholders and administrators,” the AJA said.

“It shows the ARB is completely out of touch with its constituents.”

The jockeys that are protesting by going on strike are also claiming that the entire industry is on their side. Here is what some of the key players in the industry have had to say:

Damian Oliver: “We spoke for about half an hour to the ARB, but it appears to no avail again.”

Glen Boss: “We have got the support of the owners’ association, the trainers’ association and the breeders’ association, everyone in the industry is supporting the jockeys.

“Unfortunately we have been pushed into a corner and we will react. As a jockey association we’ve got to show our strength. This rule has been placed upon us which we rejected from the get-go.”

VJA member Brad Rawiller: “They just didn’t listen to one single thing we said, nothing we said was taken into consideration. We copped it on the chin. We’ve given it a try and we can see it’s not working.

“We’ve all sat and waited for a month for this day. Again we haven’t been listened to. Do we wait another month to be listened to? We’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”

Late today the VJA Chief Executive Des O’Keeffe said that jockeys will not be allowed to make any further comment. It remains to be seen how much cost these strikes will cost the industry and how far they will go. Is the Spring Carnival in danger?

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