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Shaun Ritchie calls for ban on whips


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Leading thoroughbred trainer Shaune Ritchie wants whip banned
 Andrew Gourdie.

Leading Kiwi trainer Shaune Ritchie has called for New Zealand to take the lead and ban the use of whips in horse racing. 

Last month, The Jockey Club of the United States and Canada called for authorities to eliminate the use of the riding crop for encouragement, adding the riding crop should be used only to avoid dangerous situations to horse and rider. 
Speaking on TAB Trackside's 'Weigh In' programme, Ritchie said New Zealand should get ahead of the game.
"I think the striking of horses for performance enhancing is going to go anyway, so let's pioneer it and just do it," he said. 
"Have jockeys carry sticks - when the horse starts hanging or becomes wayward, they obviously can use them.
"I'm saying they shouldn't hit horses in the straight."  
Cambridge-based Ritchie admitted his was a minority view in the industry, but felt the use of the whip contributed to an image problem for the sport.
"People who go to the races who are of the generation we're trying to get in, they look at us and say 'here are horses being beaten with a whip for the entertainment and purposes of gambling'. That's what they think of us.
"They don't understand that they go home and live in 'Taj Mahals', and have their droppings picked up every morning and they got beautiful grass paddocks. They don't see that side of it.

"They go to the races, they see us drinking wine and watching horses get belted with a whip.
"I think in our lifetime, the whip's gonna go," he added. "I really do... before I finish training.

"Will it change the result of racing for punters? Absolutely.

"Will you still get a winner? Absolutely."    
Also speaking on 'Weigh In', NZ Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Bernard Saundry said New Zealand jockeys met on Monday and agreed to move in line with Australian rules adopted in 2015. 
The rules allow a jockey to strike a horse up to five times before the final 100 metres of the race, from which point there are no restrictions on the number of times a horse can be hit. 
Saundry said he expects the rules to be in force by October.

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