“TROT TACTICS” 20/11/2020..
This week’s bombshell. After last week’s ‘trot tactics” opinion that Natalie Rasmussen would be at the top of the harness tree for a long time to come, the lady has exercised a woman’s privilege, and announced that she, and partner, Mark Purdon, are taking a year off from the spotlight. The following, hot off the websites, says most of it. (commence italics). All Stars Racing, the all-conquering harness racing stable of champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, will cease training from December 31. The pair remain together as a couple but has decided to take a year away from training horses and if and when they choose to return it will be on a much smaller scale than the huge operation they run at Rolleston on the outskirts of Christchurch. Their state of the art property will remain open but be run by current stable foreman Hayden Cullen and his wife Amanda, with Purdon and Rasmussen happy to help out around the times of the major carnivals if needed. But the days of the All Stars machine which has dominated harness racing on both sides of the Tasman and is clearly one of the best in the world, are over.
“It is time for a break,” Purdon told the New Zealand Herald newspaper. “Between us Nat and I have been training or working with horses almost 70 years combined,” says Purdon who is 56. Rasmussen is 43.“We want to have a break, freshen up and take time to enjoy life next year. “And during that break we will take time to consider what our future looks like.” Purdon says he will retain his race driving licence so he can still drive at major race meetings but Rasmussen is still considering whether she will. “Hayden is a good young trainer and we have made a commitment to him that at least initially we will drive the horses at major carnivals if needed.
“We have told him we are happy to come help out leading in to these carnivals but the stables are going to be his with his wife Amanda’s and the business will be theirs, definitely not ours. “All Stars Racing will be closed down from December 31 and if we even come back to training full time I would say it would be a on a lot smaller scale. “But that is something we will think about during our year off.” (close italics). “Curiouser and curiouser” as the cat in Alice in Wonderland is reputed to have said!!
At last. Definitive evidence that should lead to the abolition of the whip in racing!
(commence italics).. Two papers published in journal Animals lend support to a ban on whipping in horse racing. They respectively show that horses feel as much pain as humans would when whipped, and that the whip does not enhance race safety.
Do horses feel pain when whipped? Racing industry officials have long held that they don’t. Yet in two studies released around Melbourne Cup week, Professor Paul McGreevy from the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and his colleagues have found that not only have horses evolved to feel as much pain when whipped as a human would, but that there is no compelling reason to whip these animals at all. The culmination of nearly a decade of research, these findings have the potential to fundamentally change the racing industry, locally and worldwide.Published across two papers in open access journal Animals, Professor McGreevy says he would not be surprised if the findings prompt the “PHASING OUT OF WHIPPING IN RACING IN AUSTRALIA WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS”..
Whipping hurts horses Professor McGreevy and colleagues examined whether horses are likely to feel as much pain as humans would when whipped. Using microscopic samples of skin from 10 deceased humans and 20 euthanised horses, they looked for differences between the species’ skin structure and nerve supply. The results revealed “no significant difference” between humans and horses in the concentration of nerve endings in the outer layers of skin, nor any difference in thickness of this skin layer. “This was not surprising, as horses, like humans, need robust yet sensitive skin to respond to touch, say, from flying insects or other horses,” said Professor McGreevy. “From this, we can deduce that horses are likely to feel as much pain as humans would when being whipped.” “Repeated strikes of the whip in horses that are fatigued as they end a race are likely to be distressing and cause suffering. A horse’s loss of agency as it undergoes this kind of repeated treatment is thought to lead to learned helplessness.”
In another paper, Professor McGreevy and colleagues, including Professor Phil McManus from the School of Geosciences, used data from the UK racing industry to compare 67 races with whips to 59 without, controlled for variables including number of horses, racetrack surface characteristics on the day, and race distance. “In the UK, unlike in Australia, the racing authorities hold whip-free races for apprentice jockeys,” Professor McGreevy explained. “This seems at odds with the racing industry’s claim that whips are necessary for steering, and therefore, jockey safety. “Nevertheless, our analysis of racing stewards’ reports from the two types of races revealed no statistical safety difference between races with and without whips.” He and his co-authors also found that race times and metrics of racing integrity – compliance with rules – did not differ between the kinds of races. “This invalidates industry assumptions to the contrary,” Professor McGreevy said. “THE FINDINGS OF THIS STUDY CLEARLY SHOW THAT THE USE OF WHIPS IN HORSE RACING, IS UNNECESSARY, UNJUTIFIABLE, AND UNREASONABLE”
Nothing new on the driver’s side of the leader board this week, with Pete and Narissa Mcmullen scoring four winning drives apiece, while the trainers section produced a wonderful result with Trent Lethaby, Darrell Graham, Ron Sallis,and Alistair Barnes, all finding Victory Lane on two occasions over the week. Most pleasing, Gabi Get Along at Redcliffe 15/11 for Andrew and David Millard.. First up after three years spell. Fabulous!! Ipswich factor 21/54..
Resultsville. . Redcliffe 13/11.. Arma Augustus (Taleah McMullen for Trent Lethaby).. Albion Park 14/11..king Of the Stars (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer).. True confessions (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini).. BD Khaosan (Shane Graham for Darrell Graham).. Gee Up Neddy (Hayden Barnes).. Redcliffe 15/11.. Nikitoras 9Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer).. Huinter Red (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer).. Burmach (Jonah Hutchinson for Ron Sallis).. Playing Arkabella (Steve Doherty for Mal Charlton).. Abercrombie Tab (Matt Elkins for Dan Russell).. Gabi Get Along (Andrew Millard for David Millard).. Albion Park 17/11 Bondi Shake (Hayden Barnes for Al Barnes).. Atomic Bombshell (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees).. Our ridgey Didge (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).. Courageous Saint (Angus Garrard for Darrell Graham).. Larry Lincoln (Hayden Barnes for Al Barnes).. Colby (Narissa McMullen).. Redcliffe 18/11.. Mach Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).. Pin Code (Matt Elkins for Damo Shaw).. Superbon (Paul Diebert for Phil Mitchell).. Redcliffe 19/11.. Arma Augustus (Taleah McMullen for Trent Lethaby)..