Harness Racing Australia (HRA) Members today approved amendments to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 156 relating to Whips.
The amendments to AHRR 156 have been extensively debated and shaped by HRA Members, Stewards, HRA Executive (the Board) and industry representatives across a range of various forums since early 2017, leading to the unanimous vote of Members to approve the rule as it appears below:
156. (1) (a) A driver shall only use and be in possession of a whip approved by the Controlling Body.
(b) A whip, once approved -
(i) shall not be modified in any manner;
(ii) shall be maintained in a satisfactory condition;
(c) A whip that does not comply with sub-paragraph (b) may be confiscated by the Stewards.
(2) A driver shall only apply the whip in a flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.
(3) A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.
(4) For the purposes of sub-rule (3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:-
(a) If the whip is applied excessively, continuously and/or without allowing the horse time to respond.
(b) If the whip is applied when the horse:-
(i) is not visibly responding;
(ii) is not in contention;
(iii) cannot maintain or improve its position;
(iv) is clearly winning;
(v) has passed the winning post at the finish of a race.
(c) If the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining regardless of whether the whip is being used at the same time.
(5) A driver shall not use the whip in a manner which causes injury to a horse.
(6) A whip shall not be used so as to obstruct, strike or endanger another driver or horse.
(7) A driver shall not allow a whip to project outside the sulky.
(8) A person who fails to comply with any provision of this Rule is guilty of an offence.
While it now rests with each State Controlling Body (SCB) to adopt, implement and communicate the amendments, it is the intention that this rule uniformly take effect from 1 September 2018.
For more information, please contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3004.