Sunday, 15 January 2012

Horse Racing

Yesterday at Kempton a horse called Swincombe Flame won the Lanzarote Hurdle, a valuable hurdle race, by a nose. There is no shorter winning margin in racing. The jockey, Will Kennedy, was subsequently banned for seven days and forfeited his share of the prize money for misuse of the whip. In other words he flogged the horse across the winning line depriving his opponent of a well merited win.

The horse racing authorities have been heavily criticised for the manner in which they have implemented this misuse of the whip rule. It was introduced without a trial period. What I fail to understand is why the stewards only punish the jockey? There is no way that a horse should keep the race if the jockey has cheated to win it. Everyone should suffer. Under these rules the owners can 'recompense' the jockey privately and nobody loses.

Horse racing, particularly National Hunt racing, is a very cruel sport. It is exciting and challenging and some of the beasts are so brave and honest that they worm their way into the hearts of the nation. There is however, a very high casualty rate.

The authorities have been praised for their anti corruption stance and recently some high profile jockeys have been banned but if they seriously want this whip rule to change anything then the horse should lose the race. Cheats should never prosper.

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