Industry Notice - Whips

30 August 2017

Harness Racing Considers Wrist Only Whip Action

Australia’s harness racing industry is moving towards a wrist-only use of the whip in racing following extensive consultations with industry participants.

The wrist-only plan comes after Harness Racing Australia said that, following the consultations, it became clear that it could not meet the 1 September deadline for implementing whip free racing.

The move to whip free racing has been put on hold because of widespread driver and Steward concerns about maintaining safety for drivers and horses.

The “wrist only” plan will be coupled with strict penalties as well as a further review of the design and composition of the approved whip.

HRA CEO Andrew Kelly said the industry had made significant progress in restricting whip use since 2010 and is a global leader in the moderated whip use debate.

Increased restrictions over this time have meant drivers must always hold reins taut and in both hands to prevent “loose reining” or freeing an arm to use the whip.

More recent restrictions have limited whip use to a “wrist and elbow” action without moving the whip higher than shoulder level.

The latest move to “wrist only” has been agreed in principle by all jurisdictions, but the details of how to precisely and consistently define and monitor a “wrist only” action is still to be worked through.

“For those who want a total removal of the whip, we recognise it’s not a perfect outcome, but this is a substantial and meaningful step towards balancing the needs for driver control and safety with improved welfare outcomes,” Mr Kelly said.

“The wrist-only action will give drivers more time to become accustomed to further moderation of the whip. It is the next logical step in a progression of measures that will continue to moderate the way the whip is used.”

Mr Kelly said the decision of the Annual General Meeting of HRA in October 2016 to remove the use of whips from racing as a performance tool remained in place, and that HRA would continue to work with State bodies and consult with the industry in this important issue.



Related News

18 October 2021
2021 Australasian Young Drivers Championship Cancelled
The Inter Dominion Event Committee (IDEC) along with Hosts, Harness Racing New South Wales and Club Menangle, have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) for a second year in a row. Due to the on-going uncertainty of interstate and...
13 October 2021
Vic - Remember to register your foals with HRV
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) issues a reminder to owners, breeders and studs to register their foals. To avoid any possible fees and to ensure that your foal is freeze branded and microchipped by HRV, the Certificate of Service (Foal Notification) form must be completed and returned to HRV as soon as...
8 October 2021
NSW: Notice to Industry - Hendra Virus
Hendra Virus has, this week, been reported on a property at West Wallsend in the Newcastle area in 7 year old unvaccinated clydesdale. It is particularly noteworthy as it represents the most southerly latitude that known Hendra Virus cases have been diagnosed. Link to Chief Officer Bulletin - Variant...
8 October 2021
NSW: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information for Race Meetings, trials & Training Facilities
COVID TESTS HRNSW advises industry participants that a negative PCR COVID test will continue to be required in the Greater Sydney Area (Menangle, Penrith, Bankstown) until such time as the 80% double vaccination level is confirmed by NSW Government. Any Licensee attending a Metropolitan meeting, public...
6 October 2021
NSW: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Pathway Protocols
The following HRNSW COVID-19 Protocols will apply to fully vaccinated participants. For the avoidance of doubt two inoculations are required unless a medical exemption satisfactory to HRNSW has been provided. Segregation of participants and on-course patrons will be enforced until 12.01am on Sunday 12...
Click for more