Count To 12 – Or Pay The Price

SA only ranks sixth strictest of top ten racing countries

Jockey Smanga Khumalo has fallen foul of our crop use regulations and his ride on runner-up Emirate Gina in the Listed Richard Maponya Handicap at Turffontein last month will cost him R22 250 and a painful income draining suspension of 21 days.

In South Africa, the crop is permitted to be used twelve times during a race, while contraventions in Listed and Graded races carry both monetary and riding suspensions.

There is a tiered penalty factor that punishes a rider for repeat offences within a period of time:

In the Emirate Gina case Khumalo signed an admission of guilt for a charge of a contravention of Rule 58.10.2 (read with Guideline M on the use of the crop) in that he misused his crop by striking his mount more than twelve times – seventeen to be precise – which the Stipes considered to be unwarranted when considering the circumstances of the race.

Emirate Gina started at 10-1 and was only beaten 0,20 lengths by Litigation in a tight finish.

Emirate Gina is on the outside – Bling wears the red cap (Pic – JC Photos)

Khumalo was given a fine of R22 250 and a suspension of 21 days was imposed.

While the crop use debate inevitably rages on, and 1 or 2 over can be classed a misjudgement, an excess of 40% over the permissible level of strikes has to be regarded as a bridge too far for a top jockey.

We concede that the stampede at the finish, and the fact that the top 5 finished within three quarters of a length of each other, makes it tough.

A miscount can undoubtedly happen with a 1 or 2 strike excess, and based on current earnings the 5 extras will cost Bling over R150 000, with the fine and loss of earnings.

Watch the replay here – Emirate Gina carries the red cap and comes down the centre of the track:

There is a lobby worldwide against the use of crops in horseracing, with Norway and Sweden having banned the use thereof.

In a quick survey, South Africa appears to only rank around sixth out of the top ten leading racing jurisdictions worldwide on ‘strictness’.

Have a look at the snapshot below of how we compare.


Australian rules state that there is a limit of 5, with unlimited whipping permitted in the last 100 metres.

In Hong Kong, hitting a horse on or in the vicinity of its head is strictly prohibited.    The whip is also not to be used in a manner where a jockey / rider raises his arm above shoulder height. The whip is not to be used on a horse down the shoulder in a forehand manner., The whip is not to be used on a horse by a jockey in a race which is out of contention or is clearly winning.

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