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Current Whip Rules Ineffective Claims University Study

Thursday, 11th July 2013

Researchers at the University of Sydney claim that a new study has identified weaknesses in thoroughbred racing rules governing whip use on horses. The study, by the University's Faculty of Veterinary Science, examined the force applied by jockeys when whipping racehorses with a backhand, or reverse, action, a technique that is not limited by prevailing whip rules. The study concluded that backhand whip-strikes, made by a jockey's dominant hand, exert 15 per cent more force than forehand strikes. There was no discernible difference between forehand and backhand whip use when jockey's used their non-dominant hand. Professor Paul McGreevy, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, commented that the findings expose flaws in the current rules of permissible whip use. "Our findings point to a loophole in rules that currently place no limit on the whipping technique that can do the most harm - backhand strikes with the jockey's dominant hand." Professor McGreevy continued, "Taken in combination with our previous findings that 70 per cent of whip impacts are from backhand strikes, and are therefore immune to limits stipulated in the Australian Racing Board (ARB) rules, this report raises further questions about the adequacy of those rules."

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