TODAY I’m going to blow your mind. Literally, you are going to read this and think OMG.
Racing continues to batter itself about the use of the whip.
Scribes will write – having done very little factual research – that the whip will one day be banned. That the people simply don’t accept it as a tool of the trade.
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That it is cruel. That uneducated public perception means it is outrageous to hit animals in the name of sport.
If that is true – which it mostly isn’t – why would the people think like that?
Well the simple truth is because the word ‘whip’ has, for many, only one connotation, namely to inflict pain.
Indeed, just take the dictionary definition of a whip: “A strip of leather or length of cord fastened to a handle, used for flogging or beating.”
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MUTAKAYYEF (3.50 Ascot) landed this race last year and will take all the beating again. Lump on. Yeeehaaa!
But of course a riding whip is nothing like that.
So let’s thrust in your face the statistics that British racing strangely hides away. But no longer.
In 2016 a total of 89,616 horses ran in the United Kingdom. Vets found only one of those horses was in any way marked by the use of a whip. One out of nearly 90,000!!!
Now I know what you are thinking, maybe that’s a modern day statistical blip. So let’s get that out your mind as well.
In 2015 there were 88,075 runners with three horses marked by the whip, and in 2014 only one from 87,351.
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Epsom winner Enable strode clear under Frankie Dettori to land the Irish Oaks in style
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Don’t miss out on all the latest odds and tips for today’s meeting at the Curragh
That means in the last three years from 265,042 runners just five were in any way caused discomfort from the use of the whip.
Five is five too many. But by any statistical analysis standards it is such a small percentage that it is barely worth a mention.
British racing should be so proud of these statistics that it should be shouting them out at every opportunity.
I would have every racecard with an advert stating that in the last month there had been 7000-odd runners and not one had been in any way marked by the pro-cushion whip.
Be proactive if you are in charge. Be proud of your sport.
I was lucky enough to be on the Newmarket gallops for Attheraces this week, and got the chance for a decent chat with John Gosden, who of course has Enable in the Irish Oaks this weekend.
As we finished John said: “I can’t believe we got through that with no mention of Johnny G!” Good sport that Gossa.
Also…congratulations to Sammi Hills, daughter of former Derny winning jockey Michael, who has just given birth to a baby girl. Mum doing well – grandad feeling old!
And praise the jockeys, the men and woman who ride and love horses and adhere to the rules better than any of their predecessors have done before.
In general terms whip offences have decreased by 57% compared to 2010, which was the last full year before the BHA’s latest whip review.
That’s despite the fact that the threshold for use has effectively halved.
The whip is used to encourage a horse, used correctly it is a thing of beauty, a tool to be handled in rhythm with the magnificent beast it is urging on.
Pain does not make horses run faster. Pain slows them down. It’s skill and the talent of a rider to get the best out of their mount that actually counts.
TEMPLEGATE has good tips, but poor little feet. That was the bombshell that filtered through the Newmarket press room during the July meeting at Newmarket.
On Thursday a slightly whining voice was heard amongst journalists begging for plasters for his feet. The voice was that of Steve Jones, our very own Templegate.
Historically only girls in high heels beg for plasters – on that basis who knows what shoes Steve wears at home. Heels could be a Nap!
The whip used in racing should be celebrated. It is kind. It does its job superbly well. Anyone who tells you one day it must be banned simple doesn’t understand it.
Or maybe they just haven’t checked out the facts.