Trainers have had a gutful of the controversial whip rules, with one trainer joking with stewards on Saturday that he would consider a career change.
James Innes Jnr was in strife after breaking the whip rules at Randwick. Photo: Steve Hart
Robert Heathcote told stewards – “We haven’t got long enough to discuss what I think of this farcical whip rule. If you uphold that I will take up greyhound training in NSW.”
That was in response to a protest lodged by Jim Byrne against Jeff Lloyd after Lloyd’s mount Dream Choice defeated Upstart Pride by a short-neck in race two. The winner was trained by Heathcote.
Byrne argued that Lloyd was two lengths behind him when he used the whip for the first time and still 1-1/2 lengths behind when he overused it. Byrne said Lloyd continued to then use the whip and didn’t catch him until the last bit.
“The breach enabled him to get that close to catch me,” Byrne said.
Lloyd said even if he did breach the whip rule it had not changed the result.
“I had softened him up early by making him cross me and I knew he would be weak late in the race. The whip made no difference,” Lloyd said.
Stewards dismissed the protest and declared correct weight.
“We do not believe the whip had any impact on the result,” chief steward Allan Reardon said.
Meanwhile at Randwick, Gerald Ryan was called to represent 3kg apprentice James Innes Jnr who had been summoned by Racing NSW stewards after striking his winning mount Thunder Road 11 times before the 100m mark in the TAB Highway Handicap (1400m) – six more than permitted.
Innes Jnr’s mount came from a seemingly impossible position to win the race, prevailing by a margin of a half-length over runner-up She’s Invincible, ridden by Brenton Avdulla. Correct weight was delayed whilst Avdulla viewed the official film.
“I don’t agree with the rule and it’s not doing racing any good,” Ryan said.
“I had spoken to James during the week about being more fair dinkum on them. I take half the blame.”
James Innes Jnr pleaded guilty to the charge, which also came with a five consecutive strikes sting, stewards giving him a two week suspension and $1,000 fine.
“I felt he needed that extra to really get going,” Innes Jnr told stewards.
As the debate rages regarding suggested changes to the whip rules coming out of Racing Australia, former champion jockey, mentor of apprentices and current trainer Ron Quinton summed it up with the following – “the whip is a tool of trade for a jockey.”