Whip ban a massive winner

THE following are excerpts from a landmark decision taken by delegates to Harness Racing Australia (HRA)'s annual conference, held during the Inter- dominion Championship carnival.

HRA has bitten the bullet and banned the use of the whip in racing and training, effective from September 1, 2017.

At long last, administrators with the power to effect significant change have acted. Harness racing/trotting and its four-legged participants will be the big winner.

Suddenly, we are forced to admit to ourselves that men and women do not win horse races. The equine provider of the speed, strength and determination required to do the winning is entitled to a better deal than a float ride with a flogging at the end of it. Elimination of what can be fairly described as "gratuitous cruelty" lets trainers and drivers hold their heads up in a society which will no longer tolerate such behaviour.

CEO of the RSPCA Australia, Heather Neil, commended the HRA's leadership, and said: "This is a powerful sign that the harness racing industry is both listening to its stakeholders, and acknowledging the concerns of the wider community. As Harness Racing Australia has recognised, racing should celebrate quality horsemanship, breeding and training - whips shouldn't come into it.''

HRA chairman Geoff Want said: "We are strongly of the belief that the improved image of our sport will add to the appeal of our racing product and be broadly welcomed by fans. We are confident that wagering turnover will not be impacted and indeed a number of professional punters have indicated support for the ban.

"There is ample evidence the whip is not needed in our industry and that its use to enhance racing performance is questionable. If no driver uses a whip then no driver has a perceived advantage - each race will be conducted on a level playing field, have a fair winner and horse welfare will be enhanced.''

Australia's leading driver - and 11-times winner of the national drivers' champion- ship Chris Alford said he supported the ban.

"Drivers are very sensitive to their horses and appreciate and support moves to ensure high stan- dards of animal welfare that are aligned with community expectations," Alford said.

An important link for readers is: http://theconversation.com/australias-harness-racing-leads-the-world-in-banning-the-whip-on-horses-69472


BOTRA will hold an industry meeting on the above, on Monday night, in the old administration building at Albion Park.

The meeting is at 7pm. All welcome.

Marburg place to be

DON'T forget Marburg trots are on today.

It's the best value in country racing about with a wide variety of drinks and quality foods.

The "pick the card" competition has jackpotted to $750 and there's the "bookies free bet". Where else do you get a $150 bet as a lucky gate prize and $500 scrip to punt with Con Mann the funny money bookie, to build a bank for the auction after the last race?

There's a monster Christmas Hamper raffle, and Santa with lollies for the kids.

Another highlight will be the "Walloon Bakery's Fashions on the Field", judged by Rhyan Noble between races three and four. It's open to men and women.

Gates open today at 10am, with trials from 11am.

The main action on the six race card kicks off at 12.30pm.

Adults $5 members, pensioners and students $3, children under 16 are free.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-2-3: A Good Chance (C. Petroff)- Regal Point (M. Neilson)- Max Richter (T. Dixon).

R2: Box trifecta in four 1-2-6-8: Im Johnny Jet (B. Graham)-Rory Mach (D. Graham)-Vader (D. McMullen)-Epaulette (A. Sanderson).

R3: box trifecta in four 1-3-8-9: Charlaval (R. Morris)-Fioki (T. Dixon)- Purple Royale (M. Elkins)-Mafuta Vautin (D. Graham).

R4: Quinella 1-6: Reddy Fire (P. Matis) and Major Escape (G. Dixon).

R5: Box trifecta in four 1-3-6-10: Armazen (N McMullen)-Cherish The Moment (G. Dixon)-Catcha Lefty (S. Graham)- Constantly Sideways (G. Whitaker).

R6: Box trifecta in four 1-2-6-11: Avonnova (S. Graham)-Watch Pulp Fiction (P. McMullen)-I am Mr Brightside (R. Morris)- Caesars Folly (M. Neilson).

R7: Box trifecta in four 3-6-10-13: Mr Mayfly (G. Whitaker)-Visualise (R. Morris)-Melpark Royal son (J. Cremin)-R Eleven Dream (S. Graham).

R8: Quinella 1-8: Lombo Ranmiles (C. Cini) and Candyliscious (A. Sanderson).

R9: Box trifecta 1-8-12: Yankee Strutter (T. Lambourn)-Northern Line (S. Graham)-Calcavado (P. McMullen).

R10: Quinella 1-8: Neveah (N. Dawson) and Our Diamond Edition (A. Rees).

Marburg picks: R1 - 1-5-6. R2: 4-5-7. R3: 5-7-8. R4: 1-4-5-8. R5: 2-3-6. R6: 1-4-7.

Honour board

The leader board reflects the changing state of the light harness game this week with three trainers up there on two winners apiece. They are Bill Crosby, Steve Bunz and Darrell Graham. Gary Whitaker dominated the driving scene, posting four victories. The most pleasing results were Neveah (Nathan Dawson for Lacy Hinze) and Just A Little Marn (Gary Litzow for Peter McKay).

Redcliffe, December 9: Real Social (Gary Whitaker for Steve Bunz); My Ajaye (Hayden Barnes for Josh Moore); Ideal Romance (Trent Moffat for Steve Bunz); Stayintown Tonight (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Betting Baron (Pete for Josh Moore).

Albion Park, December 10: Cracka Stride (Trent Dawson for Graeme Gavin); Starzzz Of Icon (Trent Dawson for Melissa Gillies); Never Die (Barty Cockburn).

Albion Park, December 13: Neveah (Nathan Dawson for Lacey Hinze); Sweet As Candy (Pete for Vic Frost); Constantly Sideways (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby).

Redcliffe, December 14: Releven Heaven (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Hotshot Anvil (Gary Whitaker for Graeme Gavin); Just A little Marn (Gary Litzow for Peter McKay).

Redcliffe, December 15: Our King Of Cool (Rob Gorman for Trevor Lambourn); Missy Dollar (Dan Russell for Dave Russell); Mister Hart (Darrell Graham); Georgia Grace (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey); Make A Point (Nathan Dawson for Merv Hieronymus); Montana Falcon (Darrell Graham).

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