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Messara Addresses Jockeys Concerns Over Whip Rules
Racing Australia chairman John Messara has hit back at criticism from the Australian Jockeys Association regarding incoming whip rule changes, claiming the national body has a responsibility to meet changing societal expectations about animal welfare issues, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The new rule, which comes into effect on 1 December, limits the number of times a jockey can strike a horse - in either a forehand or backhand manner - to five before the 100m mark of any race. The rule changes have angered riding associations, with jockeys holding stop-work meetings around the country last Saturday to discuss the changes. "I believe the AJA mistakenly believes that we have not been consultative, when, in fact, it is just that we have not been persuaded to the AJA's view on the matter," Mr Messara said. "We are simply exerting leadership in protecting the racing industry from external attack and we are modernising the rules to reflect society's expectations. We want racing to retain its independence and its position as a mainstream sport in what is now a very competitive environment." He added: "Under the circumstances, we believe that Racing Australia consulted adequately and fairly considered the submissions from the AJA."