Racing preview (December 14): Harness industry to outlaw whip use

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Updated: December 13, 2016

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Australian harness racing is banning the use of whips in training and racing from September 1, 2017 in what the industry describes as a world-leading animal welfare initiative that improves the sport’s image and enhances its sustainability. The decision by Harness Racing Australia sets the pace in animal welfare and for the long-term support and sustainability of the industry.

The announcement which followed the jewel event on the Australasian harness racing calendar– the Inter Dominion in Perth – makes Australia the first country in the world to voluntarily ban the whip. The Chairman of HRA, Geoff Want, said: “The whip ban decision was not taken lightly, but was made on our own initiative because we believe it is the right decision at the right time.”

HRA Executive meeting yesterday unanimously agreed to the implementation details of the ban, following the proactive initiative of members at the Annual General Meeting of Harness Racing Australia last October. “We are confident that wagering turnover will not be impacted and indeed a number of professional punters have indicated support for the ban,” Want said.

He said many drivers were concerned that control over a horse would be curtailed without a whip, especially when horses shy (leap sideways) or back up. He said HRA Executive accepted the challenges the ban presented. “Whatever tool evolves from this process it will only be allowed to avoid or guide a horse out of a dangerous situation to itself, other horses, drivers or anyone nearby.

CEO of the RSPCA Australia, Heather Neil, commended the HRA’s leadership, and said: “This is a powerful sign that the harness racing industry is both listening to its stakeholders, and acknowledging the concerns of the wider community. As Harness Racing Australia has recognised, racing should celebrate quality horsemanship, breeding and training – whips shouldn’t come into it.”

Australia’s leading driver Chris Alford said he supported the ban. “Drivers are very sensitive to their horses and appreciate and support moves to ensure high standards of animal welfare that are aligned with community expectations. We also know that a shying horse is a danger to itself, drivers, people and other horses nearby. I fully support the decision to ban the whip.”

 

Today’s racing: Mornington (Vic – good 4), Warwick Farm (NSW – good 4), Eagle Farm (Qld – good 4), Ascot (WA – good 4), Gawler (SA – good 4), Launceston (Tas – soft 5). Harness racing: Tamworth (NSW), Redcliffe (Qld), Echuca (Vic). Greyhound racing: The Meadows (Vic), Angle Park (SA), Bendigo (Vic), Albion Park (Qld), Richmond (NSW), Cranbourne (Vic), Ballarat (Vic), Wentworth Park (NSW), Rockhampton (Qld), Cannington (WA).

 

 

Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Mornington R4 #3 Tuff Bickie (win)
Mornington R7 #6 Cheeky Babe (win)
Warwick Farm R3 #6 Peaceful Sun (win)
Warwick Farm R4 #9 Bold Carlota (E/W)
Eagle Farm R2 #4 High Profile (E/W)
Eagle Farm R6 #3 Foxwhistle (win)
Gawler R4 #5 Cool Fonzy (win)
Launceston R5 #8 Catalyst Fire (win)

 

Monday’s results (WIN-PLACE- UNPLACED): 3-0-1, +8.4 units; overall record (WIN-PLACE- UNPLACED): 274-40-438, +85.15 units

Kilmore R5 #2 Lovani (win x2) 1st ($1.70)
Kilmore R8 $4 Hennybodys (win) 1st ($4.20)
Tuncurry R4 #7 Slickster (E/W 1×2) 1st ($5.70/$2.10)
Tuncurry R8 #5 Art Attack (win) LOSE (4th)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to Ladbrokes (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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