Last weekend we experimented riding without a whip as a reaction to what is happening in the UK where there is strong opposition to the use of the whip. A lot of us were in support of the concept and I’m definitely in that camp.
After riding in that race I’ve sort of changed my opinion and the whole jockey room felt the same, because even though you are not there to punish the horse you have to find a way to get his mind on the job. It’s to get him to concentrate, beginning from when you leave the parade ring and take your horse down.
When I took my horse to the start last Saturday he was looking all over the place and not concentrating. Just a tap on the shoulder is usually enough to regain that focus from him.
In the race itself it felt weird when you try to encourage the horse and there’s no response. You just feel that your horse is taking advantage of the situation and not putting his best foot forward. That could become an issue as we are expected to give our horses every chance of winning and there is no way we can motivate him to give of his best.
There are obviously differences of opinions where certain people feel you need to be more vigorous to get a response but we have work together to be more progressive in putting the horse’s welfare first.
There are some jockeys who use the whip excessively in my view and when you get to the winning post and there are all the jockeys hitting their horses, it makes a lot of noise and gives the impression the horses are being abused.
My personal opinion is I feel the whip is needed but just around the shoulder. There should be no hitting the horse behind the saddle. There are a lot of disciplinary reasons why jockeys need whips but it needs to be used in a kind way. They need to understand the guy on top is in charge and just a tap on the neck to help them concentrate usually does the trick.
We are back on the Inside track at Turffontein today and will need to take the draws into account.
Race 1 is over 1000m and See You Tyger has the best form but the horse I believe can beat her is Tuscan Light. She finished a head behind See You Tyger in what was her first start and any improvement should see her finish on top this time.
There are a number of unraced runners who could pop up so be alert to any betting moves.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate but this time over 1450m and the best weighted runner is Adamo. He has a good draw and is definitely the horse to beat. He is potentially a good bet and probably a BiPot banker.
The only danger may be a talented unraced runner but they all seem to be badly drawn.
Race 3 is a handicap but Morning Catch does seem to have the best form. There are a number of others with chances so include Shogun and Purple Diamond in the Place Accumulator. The other dangers are D’Arivee and Danza.
I’m riding Nephrite who will probably find this a bit tough so I’m hoping for improvement.
Race 4 is another handicap with my first choice being Mrs O. Her dangers are Vivir and Twelve Oaks and all three need to be included in the PA. For the Pick 6 consider Air Of Success, Jameson Girl and Visuality.
Race 5 is a plate race and your best handicapped runner should come out on top. Green Top is well ahead of the rest and looks a Pick 6 and PA banker.
The only possible danger is Storm Destiny who I rode last time and was quite impressed with her. She has not run since then and might need it, which makes Green Top hard to beat.
Race 6 is handicap over 2600m which always turns out to be very competitive. My main selections, in order of preference, are Desert Sunset, Daytona Charger, Kamakura, Mighty And Magic and Tapenzee.
Put as many as those mentioned into the PA but consider adding more to the Pick 6.
I ride Earth Sky who just won his maiden and often they battle to deal with the stronger opposition in their next start. He is lightly raced so I’m hoping he can make improvement and cause the upset.
Race 7 is another handicap with no horse having outstanding form so you will need to include as many as possible. My main runners are Psychic, Tiger Jet, Revelation and Kurt’s Approval. All those need to be included in the PA but for the Pick 6 add AP Chanel, Shanghai Pierce and Storm Outgoing.
Race 8 is another handicap with my first choice being Lazarus Tree. He’s lightly raced and could be too good for this field. Unfortunately he has a shocking draw. In the PA include O Lucky Man as well. For the Pick 6 add Blue Diamond Road. If those are not enough you need to go even wider.
I ride Sleepinseattle who is held on form.
Race 9 is another handicap with the main runners being Perfect Tigress, Kentucky Blue and Soul Of Wit, who is my first selection.
She has been running in features and has had to deal with bad draws. She did run poorly last time so you might need to back her up in with Perfect Tigress in the PA. Add Kentucky Blue for the Pick 6.