A protest with potentially monumental implications in the racing industry within Australia has been upheld at Sunshine Coast racecourse with a dead heat protest being upheld due to over use of the whip.
In the 4th race at Corbold Park this afternoon ROSELLA ridden by Taylor Williams and STONECAST ridden by Sarah Eilbeck went to the line deadlocked and the judge was unable to split the pair.
But the result of the race was far from a done deal, as trainer of STONECAST Gary Duncan demanded to see the front on vision from the home stretch.
After reviewing the vision with connections and jockey Eilbeck a protest was lodged as they noted Taylor Williams had struck his mount more times than permissible, in the home running, under strict new whip rules introduced late last year.
Stewards upheld the objection deeming that if Williams had not over used his whip then STONECAST would have won the race in his own right rather than dead-heating.
Here’s the stewards report from the race explaining the circumstances of the protest and verdict;
“Correct weight was delayed to enable the connections of STONECAST which finished a dead heat for 1st to view the photo finish. After viewing the patrol footage trainer G. Duncan and App S. Eilbeck (STONECAST) were satisfied with the Judge’s decision. Mr Duncan and App Eilbeck subsequently lodged an objection against App T. Williams the rider of ROSELLA which also finished a dead heat for 1st in relation to the use of her whip prior to the 100m. After hearing all the evidence and viewing the film it was established that App Williams the rider of ROSELLA struck her mount on eight occasions prior to the 100m mark, which is in breach of AR137A(5)(a)(ii) that stipulates five strikes prior to the 100m mark. As App Eilbeck the rider of STONECAST had ridden within the Rules of Racing, stewards were comfortably satisfied that this breach had a material affect on the result of the placings and therefore upheld the protest. ”
It’s a landmark decision in Australian racing with this being the first ever protest to be upheld on the grounds of overuse of the whip.
It certainly sets a precedent in QLD (if not nationwide) where late last year steward Alan Readon dismissed a similar objection with the difference being there was a neck margin. Ironically it was also at the Caloundra track.
But where does it end?
If you hit your mount too many times and win how far do you have to have won by to not lose on protest to the 2nd horse?
How can any steward possibly gauge how much benefit was derived by over use of the whip?
Will it spark a trend?
Only time will tell. But the verdict certainly will ignite widespread debate. Tell us what you think?