Punters will soon get used to it. What about the punters on the runner up Arsenal, why shouldn't cheats be disqualified ?
January 4, 2009
"NOT acceptable," Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy commented about the whip riding of apprentice Daniel Ganderton on Gold Water in the Hit It Benny Handicap at Royal Randwick yesterday.
Ganderton hit Gold Water more than 20 times - being kind, there were a couple of back handers - to score by three-quarters of a length.
Under the new whip restrictions coming in later this year, Ganderton would have at least been fined for exceeding the strike limit. In the past he would have been acclaimed for such a powerful display.
"Hit, and wait for the horse to respond," Murrihy stressed was the application that would apply. Ganderton struck up a flailing motion on Gold Water.
Gold Water is trained by Gai Waterhouse and historically the stable's horses, from when her father the late Tommy Smith was in charge, respond to hard riding.
Because fines for excessive use have had little effect in Great Britain, it is being advocated a breach of the rules should lead to a severe penalty. Had that applied yesterday, Ganderton, on Gold Water, would have been disqualified. Fines will hardly be a sufficient deterrent. After all, wouldn't most owners instruct a jockey to "get this one home, and I'll look after fine?"
However, Murrihy, unlike Melbourne stewards previously, didn't even issue an official warning over Gold Water.
"I can't take action until the [excessive-use] rules are in place," he explained, adding he expected them to be finalised in March and come into force next season. Certainly, stipes can take action against riders of those back in the field which they consider receive too much unnecessary punishment.
Ganderton probably would have breached the rule when completing a double on the highly promising Rangirangdoo in the Mr. Tiz Welter. Still, the gelding wasn't subjected to the same pressure as Gold Water. When favourite My Sweet Cookie, giving Rangirangdoo a considerable start, went to the tail of the field his supporters hardly had a warm and fuzzy feeling, considering the pattern of racing.
Apart from Ganderton, the program featured kind riding, with jockeys adjusting to the circumstances. With the rail out wide, frontrunners are usually favoured and this resulted in some soft leads yesterday. Navigators could afford to be generous to their mounts.
Take, for instance, Jim Cassidy on McClintock in the Bletchingly Handicap. As race-caller Mark Shean commented, the win didn't surprise because McClintock "had such an easy time in front". Cassidy, stronger than most in a finish and hardly one to follow the edict of spare the rod and spoil the horse, quipped: "I've finally taken advantage of the good hands I've got, to get a hard puller to settle."
Mark De Montfort, the former jockey and trainer of McClintock, obviously played a role in the horse's behaviour.
Another assisted by the slack pace was Clothing, with Kerrin McEvoy up, in the Kista Handicap. McEvoy has ridden under British rules, so is more reserved with the persuader but, with Clothing being on the speed, she didn't need much encouragement.
McEvoy handled one of the few back-markers to shine when two-year-old Red Pixie, making her debut, finished second to Cleanup in the Snippets Handicap. Both were aided by leaders which went lickety split, but Cleanup had had the benefit of a previous race.
"You can't replicate what a race start does for a two-year-old," said Peter Snowden, the trainer of Red Pixie.