Australia: Whip under spotlight after Purton criticism

Zac Purton

Zac Purton: unimpressed by Australia’s whip rules

  PICTURE: Lewis Porteous  

Australia: Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy has publicly taken Zac Purton to task over a claim Australian racing’s whip rules could have cost him winning last month’s Golden Slipper.

Purton blamed Australia’s whip regulations as a possible difference between winning and losing the world’s richest two-year-old race on Yankee Rose.

He took a took a swipe at Australian racing after riding a recent Sha Tin double.

“At least I’m lucky enough to be riding in a place where I’m encouraged to ride winners – it doesn’t seem to be that way back at home currently,” Purton said.

‘Pigs might fly’

But Murrihy says Purton’s comments are ill-founded.

“All this rubbish in the Slipper (Purton saying) if I had been able to hit the horse a couple more times before the one hundred metres I would have beaten Capitalist. I mean pigs might fly,” Murrihy told Melbourne radio station RSN.

“Zac was way out of order and I think (Hong Kong chief steward) Kim Kelly may have tugged his coat pretty hard too. Zac might be better commenting on what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

Purton was subsequently fined A$2,000 for overuse of the whip during his winning ride on Yankee Rose in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes.

Whip under review

Not surprisingly, the new whip rule was a major topic during an Australian stewards’ conference this week.

“We’ve come up with some certain thoughts. They’ll go into the mix and back to Racing Australia,” Murrihy said.

“(We want) something that tries to reflect what we are trying to achieve with welfare and what we are trying to achieve with integrity without being too inflexible.

“That was much about what our discussion centred on and where much of our recommendations will go.”

Murrihy said increased prize-money on offer during the Sydney autumn carnival had resulted in a spike in the number of whip offences.

“What we found is that when the stakes are high, for a couple of days during The Championships and on Golden Slipper day, it just occupied too much of our time,” he said.

 

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