Trainer Brent Stanley is set to launch legal action over the controversial whip rule in Australian racing.
Stanley’s colt Violate, ridden by Larry Cassidy, was beaten a nose by Dream Aplenty, ridden by apprentice jockey Tiffani Brooker, in Saturday’s Group 3 Gunsynd Classic over 1600m at Eagle Farm.
Stewards suspended Brooker for seven days and fined her $2000 after charging her for whipping the winner 17 times before the 100m, well outside the permissible five strikes.
In total, she used the whip on 27 occasions. Neither stewards nor Cassidy lodged a protest over the result.
A furious Stanley is confused by the system and will challenge the result on behalf of Violate’s owners.
“The first I heard of it was when I woke up on Sunday morning,” Stanley said.
“We get beaten narrowly, discuss the post race, but at that time Larry had no knowledge that the winner had broken the whip rules.
“He is busy doing his job for us, not counting how many times she is using the whip on the other horse.
“She was using the whip in her right hand, which was on the opposite side to Larry and it was impossible for him to know.
“During the race, we are focussed on our horse and not paying close enough attention to what the other rider is doing with the whip.
“I’m frustrated that there was nothing said by the stewards after the race, we weren’t given any information from the stewards.”
Stanley believes that there needs to be greater clarity around the rule and how it is administered.
“The winning rider is fined $2000 and given a seven day suspension so there is evidence that she has breached the rule, there is no doubt about that,” Stanley said.
“That would mean that it has clearly had an impact on the result.
“I have a very well-bred colt running in a Group race and there is a massive difference for the owners between a win and a narrow defeat.
“I have had legal advice this morning and will be lodging an official complaint on Monday to challenge the result of the race and try and get it overturned.
“This is not being done over having sour grapes, this is being done because there is no consistency with rule around Australia and it is an Australia-wide rule.
“Quite simply, I don’t feel that I was given an appropriate chance to do anything about it before correct weight was called.
“I didn’t know that the winner had broken the rules.”
Racing Queensland chief steward Allan Reardon informed Brooker on Saturday that her overuse of the whip could have led to her losing the Gunsynd Stakes.
Reardon was quoted in the Courier Mail that Cassidy ‘could have looked at the video if he wished, but we can’t take that any further’.
“Ultimately, we have to be satisfied the whip use exceeded the winning margin.”
The restrictions to whip use in races were first introduced in Australia in 2009 before being tightened to the current rules in December 2015.