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Sydney Jockeys May Strike Over Murrihy Whip Stance
Sydney jockeys could strike if Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy "refuses to soften his hard-line stance on whip penalties," reported The Herald-Sun. The newspaper asserted: "Murrihy, whose reign is on the verge of crisis, will try to justify his actions in front of state & territory peers at a national stewards' conference in Sydney on Thursday. Murrihy, who has handed out 64 suspensions & countless fines for whip rule breaches, is the odd-man-out among chief stewards on whip & other penalties." Murrihy & Racing NSW last week "criticised as soft interstate whip policy, which angered other stewards". Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey confirmed he was "a little disappointed" by the criticism & told the newspaper: "The rule is 6 months old & jockeys are being asked to adapt from 100 years of racing." The Australian Jockeys' Association "which has asked to attend Thursday's stewards' showdown" said it would "consult 1st Racing NSW, then its members, if Murrihy refused to yield". The AJA has been critical of Murrihy "not just for his penalty policy, but other penalties, even his demeanour" & the newspaper added: "His month suspension of Kerrin McEvoy for a beaten ride was widely regarded as outrageous. Most believe McEvoy made, at worst, a minor tactical error." AJA chief executive Paul Innes said the AJA would "urge the Racing NSW board to order Murrihy to fall in line with other states if the chief steward refused to yield". Innes declared: "I'm not optimistic about Murrihy being prepared to change. It might, in fact, be incumbent on the Racing NSW board to act & make sure common sense prevails. If we don't get satisfaction on Thursday, or from Racing NSW, we'll take it back to our members . . . . . and see what action they want to take. We don't want a near revolt, like what happened at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day, but the jockeys are dissatisfied."