For the first time in South Africa an official race will be run to test how jockeys will be able to ride without a whip in the hand.
Race 2 at Turffontein on Saturday is the Hands and Heels Maiden Plate over 1400m and all riders will leave their whips in the jockey room.
There are strong moves afoot in the UK to have the whip banned as racing is starting to lose the battle in the court of public opinion and animal welfare groups are starting to get more militant.
There are many different views as to whether this will work or not and we spoke to some of the jockeys who will be riding in the race and also got the views of some of the trainers.
Keagan de Melo: I honestly think young horses need the encouragement. It’s not meant to be used excessively, it’s used for guidance. For example, I’m riding an inexperienced first timer (Mighty Rock) and horses like that need it (stick) for guidance. Not to hurt them, but to get them out of the gates, straightened in running, and so forth.
Warren Kennedy: I’ve ridden horses that don’t like the stick before. The stick is there to ask for a little extra from runners, not to give them a hiding. It should be regulated – maybe, say, it should be used two or three times. Young horses need the guidance. The stick is also used to assist in straightening them while running.
Dennis Schwarz: I think it’s a great initiative, but I also think some horses need the stick especially ones who are still learning about racing.
Raymond Danielson: To be honest I’m all for it. I don’t really use the stick that much in races anyway. I find that I’m a better rider with the hands. Some horses do need the whip though – but I for one can’t wait to ride without my whip on Saturday.
Corne Orffer: It’s going to be very interesting to see whether or not horses will respond to us in running, without the whip. Will they run straight, will they behave or jump out the gates? I can’t really comment on it until I’ve experienced it. We’ll see how things go on the day.
Paul Peter: I feel the no-whip rule should only apply to the older, more experienced horses that know about racing. Young horses need the guidance. They’re obviously still very green and will run around etc. I think this should be for the runners that have raced a few times.
Brett Crawford: I think it’s just something we have to let run its course and see what happens – see how races unfold and how the jockeys handle it. It will be quite interesting. I can’t really say what I think of it at the moment and I would like to watch a few races before I make a decision.
Yvette Bremner: It could be a race between Piere Strydom and Lyle Hewitson. Lyle is very good without a whip and so is Piere. Some jockeys just can’t ride without using a whip.
Mathew de Kock: I’m excited to see how it goes. It’s something different. I’m still new in the game so I have an open mind on the issue, although right now I’m uncertain where I stand. But I believe we are dealing with a perception about horse racing rather than a fact.