Phumelela racecourse will be staging a race at Turffontein South Africa in which jockeys will not be permitted to use whips.
The move to ban the use of whips in the sport is growing momentum in the UK and it has found a lot of support in South Africa.
Modern whips are made from cushion and they do not hurt the horse if used correctly but it does make lot of noise as it makes contact.
However, outsiders watching a race just see that horses get a solid beating from a jockey and that immediately gives the sport a bad image.
The question one needs to ask is to what extent the whip encourages a horse to run faster? Interestingly, anybody who watched Race 7 at Turffontein on would seriously have reservations about whether it does.
Warrior’s Rest and D’Arivee were fighting out that finish and as champion jockey Lyle Hewitson pulled his whip some 150m from the finishing post, it flew out of his hand, over his head and dropped on the turf.
Demonstrating why he is the country’s champion, Hewitson showed no panic but jut rode his mount with his hands. It looked as if D’Arivee would pass him but Hewitson got Warrior’s Rest perfectly balanced and came back to win the race by a long head.
In the UK, an organisation called Championship Horse Racing has been set up which is looking to repackage horseracing using Formula 1 racing as a model.
They point out horseracing is the second largest spectator sport in Great Britain and, with a history dating back centuries, one of the longest established.