Tasracing and the Office of Racing Integrity Tasmania today joined Harness Racing Australia to assist with their consultation process for whip free harness racing. Tasmania will host the first whip free trials in Australia, starting at Carrick Park today with the first of two whip free trial sessions to be carried out in the state.
It was an excellent response from trainers and drivers participating at today’s trial session, who took up the option of carrying the new prototype safety device instead of the current whip, with only one driver electing to use a whip. However, it is worth noting that the driver used a shorter whip than can be used under the current rule and he did not use his whip to drive his horse out over the concluding stages.
Cameron Brown from Harness Racing Australia was present at today’s trial session and was happy with the this phase of the HRA consultation process. “We would like to thank Tasracing for assisting the facilitation of the first set of trials. It was an excellent start and we look forward to continuing to consult with drivers and trainers,” Mr Brown said.
Participating drivers were surveyed after their drives, with consistent feedback. “I think it is clear from today that the safety device was too heavy and too cumbersome. It got caught in the wind a little bit and the drivers today were definitely keen for something lighter,” Brown explained.
“Harness Racing Australia will take the feedback on board from the two trial sessions in Tasmania and work towards something the drivers are more in tune with,” Brown said.
The current prototype safety device will be further trialled at Luxbet Park in Hobart on Monday evening with Harness Racing Australia to consider feedback from participants involved in the next part of its consultation process.
Read the recent update on Whip Free racing from Harness Racing Australia’s Chairman, Geoff Want by clicking here.