Victorian jockey Jason Benbow had nothing positive to say regarding new rules limiting jockeys to five strikes prior to the last 100m of a race. The new rules took effect 1 December. During the final 100m, jockeys may use the whip as they see fit.
Benbow recently won aboard Value of Justice in race four at Traralgon Sunday, but reported that he nearly lost due to having used up his five strikes well before the final 100m. Riding in second position, he waited rather than risk be penalised. Value of Justice claimed a narrow victory over Internship.
Benbow received a reprimand on the previous day for using the whip six times in a race he won at Benalla. He feels that jockeys have enough to do without being required to be good at math whilst hurtling along on a 500 kg horse at over 40 km/h.
The latest regulations are another move by the ARB to placate animal rights groups and follow the introduction of the padded whip in 2009. Padded whips were easy enough to implement, but now, along with everything else racing stewards have to observe, counting whip strikes on every runner in a crowded field adds an extra level of complexity.