Welfare issue whips up debate

THE wheels of harness are again turning, this time focussing on an animal welfare issue.

Harness Racing Australia has made additions to approved and banned gear as a result of discussions at the recent meeting of chief stewards and veterinary officers.

Consideration is given to the need of the item, alternative items available, horse welfare and integrity when these decisions are made.

The use of chain, twisted wire or rope pulling bits (irrespective of covering), or devices which constrict a horses jaw, is banned.

Items that wrap around the jaw and which are designed to severely tighten on the jaw when pulled create an animal welfare issue.

These particular items can cause permanent damage to a horse's jaw and are not permitted to be used.

The use of twisted wire bits are banned for any purpose in the State of Victoria under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008.

This column has often made reference to the need to eliminate or severely curtail the use of the whip in horse racing.

To date, most Australian control bodies have been unable or unwilling to achieve this, and we are still guilty of sending out TV images of drivers flogging horses at any stage of a race.

This negative image is now bolstered by the above news. It seems that our potential audience are faced with the peculiar dilemma of a hypothetical driver flogging a horse (causing pain) to encourage it to greater exertion while resorting to steering gear more suited to the Spanish Inquisition (causing pain) to guide and or restrain the equine athlete.

One day our administrators will realise that we cannot continue to exist without the group of punters that we don't have, and simply must attract in the immediate future.

That group is a solid majority of the Australian population who appreciate an exciting horse fuelled spectacle and contest produced by that most excellent of animals, "the willing horse''.

They will not have a bar of cruelty, overt or covert.

Marburg place to be

WHAT are your plans for today?

Is it a bright clear autumn morning, just a bit nippy?

If so, the Marburg trots are the place for you and the family.

The trials program starts at 11am and race one on the five race card goes at 12.30pm.

Entry is $5 for adults, $3 for pensioners and kids under 16 enter for free.

Come along and try the country burgers from Barry's BBQ and the rest of a large selection of hot food.

A bookie will be there to bet.

Sky Channel provides gallops coverage, and all we need is you, to make it a great day.

It's fun in the sun and up close action at Marburg showground.

Charity race day

MARK June 14 in the diary for the Charity Day Race meeting at Marburg.

The Marburg Pacing Association will have at least one special guest on that day.

More news to come.

Combined meeting

THE grass circuit is about to kick off with a combined trot and gallop meeting scheduled for Beaudesert on Saturday, May 24.

With this in mind, qualifying trials will be held on the grass tomorrow morning.

The first trial is set to go at 8am.

These will be under mobile start conditions, but only bars incurred on grass can be lifted.

Other penalties incurred at Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg will remain in place.

Slip on over and black book a winner for the next week.

Final hope

RACEVIEW owner/breeders Jeff and Leanne Wallace have a strong hand in tonight's $100,000 Seymour Nursery Pace Final for 2yo colts and geldings.

Lining up for Team Wallace will be Mista Natural, unbeaten at two runs so far.

Educated by Geoff Dawson and trained and driven by Peter Greig, the colt is by Mr Big from the prolific winner Impish Princess, a daughter of Fake Left.

Impish Princess, a winner of $200,000 plus, has already produced How Will I Know, currently boasting a bank balance of $127,000.

The Wallaces are also breeding from Sweet Shania, Forgiven and Lets RockNRoll.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight: R1 - Quinella 2-3: Chal Fire (R. Law) and Waltzing With Cullen (L. McCarthy).

R2: Quinella 2-4: Slipaslygrin (G. Whitaker) and Mac The Finn (L. McCarthy).

R3: E/w 11: Field Officer (M. Neilson).

R4: Quinella 3-9: A Good Chance (D. J. Smith) and Admiral Bronski (S. Graham).

R5: E/w 2: Stunin Banner (L. McCarthy).

R6: E/w 8: Makes Every Scents (M. Hewitt).

R7: Quinella 6-7: Charming Allie (G. Dixon) and Joys A Babe (M. Neilson).

R8: No 3: Bling It On (L. McCarthy).

R9: E/w 1: Night affair (G. Dixon).

R10: E/w 2: Bettor Promise (B. Cowen).

Marburg picks today: R1 - 2-7-8. R2: 2-6-7.

R3: 3-5-8. R4: 2-3-6.

R5: 4-7-2.

Honour board

Just eight winners this week with the leader board showing Trevor Lambourn and Darrel Graham head-to-head on two wins. Narissa McMullen took the driving honours with the same total.

Albion Park, May 9: Cheesy Grin (Narissa for Greg Elkins).

Albion Park, May 10: Arvee Bromac (Adam Sanderson for Darrel Graham); Navarda Ace (Narrissa for John McMullen).

Redcliffe, May 11: Dee Jay Ray (Trevor Lambourn); In No Mans Land (Chris Petroff for Trevor Lambourn).

Albion Park, May 12: Hachem (Brittany Graham for Adam Sanderson).

Redcliffe, May 14: Speedy Love (Darrel Graham).

Redcliffe, May 15: Mimesis (Pete for Phil Mitchell).

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