After last Saturday’s Rosehill Group 1 The BMW meeting I’ve reached the conclusion that fining jockeys for overuse of the whip is pretty much a total waste of time.

Let me explain why that is. My attention was drawn to the actions of Sydney stewards, who fined jockey J for Hugh Bowman $2,000 for overuse of the whip on the winner of The BMW – Preferment. Stewards also fined the jockey of the second horse in that race, Who Shot Thebarman, Blake Shinn, an amount of $1,000 for overuse of the whip on his horse.

On face value, to the average Joe Blow, that might seem all about right, however after having had time to stand back and smell the roses, my thoughts are that a suspension needs to be handed down by stewards for cumulative whip infringements.

In Bowman’s case he won the $900,000 to the winner The BMW, meaning without any slings, his 5% share of the prizemoney is $45,000. He then gets fined $2,000 post race, but one wouldn’t have to be Einstein to deduce that it’s well worth his while, from a financial perspective, to over-use his whip under the current rules. If he had to hit the horse say an additional five times before the 100-metre mark to get Preferment home first, at the rate of a fine of $1,000 per additional strike prior to the 100-metre mark, like he got handed ($2,000 for two additional strikes) that would cost him $5,000 for five additional strikes, so even if that scenario had unfolded, he’d still be able to keep $40,000 of his $45,000. And whilst I’m not saying it happened in The BMW last Saturday, it’s obviously also possible if any jockey anywhere around Australia overuses the whip, that there could be an owner and/or owners who could have a pre-arranged deal with their jockey that in the event of a fine for over-use of the whip, the owner/s will cough up the money.

In the case of Blake Shinn’s $1,000 fine – his 5% of the second prizemoney of $260,000 is $13,000 so yet again $1,000 represents only 7.69% of his race earnings. And interestingly Bowman’s $2,000 fine is only 4.44% of his race earnings yet according to the stewards report, Bowman infringed more times than Shinn and even had the distinction of winning the race, so percentage wise, the two fines don’t even mirror each other.

Under the current system, it’s fair to say that fines are not a disincentive to the 50-kilo bundles of joy all around Australia, therefore like I suggested months ago, we need to introduce a points system for overuse of the whip and once a jockey has accrued a certain number of points they are suspended for a few weeks. The points demerit system would be much higher in these Group races and when the jockey got a holiday, in that “few weeks” they could possibly learn to count to five.

And in any event, the primarily what I’d call “disgraceful field” that lined up for the $1.5 million The BMW showed what a pathetic state weight-for-age racing in Australia has degenerated to. Australian thoroughbred breeders cannot seemingly even breed any decent young WFA horses from the 17,000 or 18,000 that are born in Australia annually, as most of the “disgraceful field” that contested The BMW are overseas refugees that have unfortunately found their way into Australia past our alleged security checkpoints. Who is checking on the CV of some of these overseas chaffbandits?

Let me go through the CV of the field and explain why The BMW field of 2016 were primarily “disgraceful”.



Our Ivanhowe

After competing in France and Germany he fled to Australia. He’s had eight starts in Australia for zero wins and two placings. He hasn’t won a race anywhere around the world for over 16 months. It’s highly unlikely that Australia will be a better place for inviting him to our shores.

Who Shot Thebarman

Fled New Zealand to be here. He’s won just one race in the last 17 months and that was against six oxygen thieves in the Zipping Classic at Sandown last November. If you think “oxygen thieves” is a tad harsh, ask yourself how many races the placegetters from that race – Tall Ship and Do You Remember – have won since.


After winning in Dubai and France we welcomed him to the former convict dumping ground of England – Australia. He’s now had 10 starts in Australia for two wins – one at Listed level and one at Group 3 level – and he’s been unplaced the other eight times, so his Australian CV proves “he can’t run a place 80% of the time”.

Grand Marshal

He’s won just one race in the last 16 months and that was 50 weeks ago on a soft 7 track at 40/1 by a half head so that screams “meow” at me.

Arab Dawn

Talking about convicts from England back in Cookie’s day, this horse is from the mother country. He’s gone like a hobbled duck at odds as short as $2.25 in three of those four Aussie starts. He won the other start when he started 14/1 so in reality we didn’t exactly warm to him that day either.

Mongolian Khan

A visitor from New Zealand that’s been a good horse, but he’s raced like a crippled soldier crab at three runs back from a spell and I understand that they are going to pull up stumps with him back to New Zealand now. That proves “there may be a God”.


From a punter perspective, he’s harder to catch than the suburban train that left two minutes ago – and you’re on a push bike, but he in fairness has won four Group 1’s so I won’t bag him – but he’s the only one that’s exempt from being bagged.

Storm The Stars

Another English immigrant. He’s had three Australian starts and he’s proven to be slower than a wet week in a North Queensland rainforest. Sadly it looks like we are stuck with the cat.

Rising Romance

This little former Kiwi darlin’ now sadly calls Australia home but we don’t want or need her. She hasn’t won a race anywhere for over 13 months and in fact her only win in the last 23 months was back in New Zealand by a nose in a $30K total prizemoney race.


He came into the race last Saturday having only missed a place once in six career starts, but he never looked likely last Saturday so he’s better off sticking to the sanctity of his own age group whilst he’s 3YO. He may strengthen up when he’s 4YO and be competitive in WFA races.


Today on there’s the second and final big montage of photos from the Marburg Easter Sunday harness racing meeting.

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