My wife and I do not see eye to eye over the use of the whip, she feels that it is abused, I try to defend its use on purely practical grounds and I certainly do not support those misguided critics who would ban the use of the whip. But when a jockey metes out punishment like the rider of the second horse in the 8th race at Scottsville on Sunday, Dec 11th, my defence of the whip loses its credibility. French Reef was struck 18 times during the run in, all with the left hand, causing the horse to veer violently across the track to avoid the whip and almost cannon into the eventual winner. The result was that it lost the race by a short head for its very prominent owner, and the only observation by the commentator was that “it was given a very vigorous ride”.
This was a disgraceful exhibition by a jockey who plainly has very limited riding skills trying to impose his will on a horse through brutal flogging. Not only did he lose the race for the owner, he also attracted the attention of those who delight in attacking our sport as cruel, and he may well have caused permanent mental trauma to the animal. I wonder Craig Eudey had anything to say to his rider, or whether he reported the incident himself to the stipes, which he is perfectly entitled to, or whether he condoned the rider’s actions.
If I was a stipe, I would never allow CZ to ride a race again until he can prove that he has riding ability that does not depend on relentless whipping to encourage a horse to perform. In the meantime I have to live, defenceless, within earshot of a very livid wife who watched the race with me!
via email – David Mickleburgh