December 14, 2020: Racing Victoria Limited: Jockeys' advocate disapproves of whip stance 15 December 2020


Retired jockeys' advocate Des O'Keeffe has voiced his disapproval of Racing Victoria's consideration of whip-free reform while Racing Australia conducts a review of Australian whip rules in thoroughbred racing.

RV issued a statement on Monday signaling the potential to act on whip rules before there is a national determination on the matter by RA, claiming it is exploring a number of reforms.

"As we had expressed previously when commenting on whip use, there are a number of options that Victoria could consider to progress the discussion on whip reform," the RV statement said.

RV also confirmed discussions around possibly staging a race - or a series of races - where jockeys can carry whips, but not use them.

O'Keeffe, 63, stepped down from the Australian Jockeys' Association board earlier this month after championing the cause of riders across Australia for the past 15 years.

O'Keeffe told RSN927 on Tuesday that he didn't believe RV's 'very public position' against the whip was 'a good idea'.

"I think it's basically undermining the position Racing Australia have got to establish a rider protocol panel, which they've done," O'Keeffe said. "I think that process should play out and where that process lands, it lands."

O'Keeffe cited the statistic that during the first four months of this season (August 1 to November 30), there had been 47 breaches of the whip rule from 14,500 starters in Victoria.

"From the current rule, it (the whip rule) is not an issue," O'Keeffe said.

"Giles Thompson and Racing Victoria have formed the view it's not fit for purpose and my personal opinion is I think it is.

"If the powers to be (from the Racing Australia review) determine that it's not after reviewing and the appropriate level of consultation then okay, let's discuss it.

"Let's talk about it and come up with something that will see this industry sustainable into the future, that's the legacy we owe it.

"Racing Australia, the administrators, they don't own the industry. They are there to administer the industry on the basis they are there for. They've got to consult, they've got to engage and make good decisions that all of us think is for the sustainability of the industry.

"These people like Jye (McNeil) and the trainers and the owners and even the punters are the ones with skin in the game - talk to them about it, see what they think.

"I don't know that going for surveys of people who are either anti the industry no matter what (or) don't like the use of horses for racing, I don't know if that (surveying them) serves a great purpose."

Racehorse owner Rupert Legh, who has a part-interest in more than 100 horses in training, with many of them based in Victoria, echoed O'Keeffe's sentiments.

"At the moment we just need to come up for air a little bit, I'm not too sure why we're doing this in Victoria at the moment," Legh told RSN927.






Racing Victoria Limited operates as a thoroughbred racing club in Victoria. The company develops, encourages, promotes, and manages the conduct of the racing of thoroughbred horses. It also provides services to patrons, punters, and other customers; and entertainment to audience. Racing Victoria Limited was incorporated in 2001 and is based in Flemington, Australia.


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December 13: Racing Victoria Limited: Greysful Glamour wins Villiers

Rachel King used a carbon copy of her Villiers Stakes ride of 12 months ago to again land the prize in the group 2 aboard Greysful Glamour at Randwick on Saturday.

King scored a popular win in the Group 2 a year ago aboard race favourite Quackerjack and she again employed the same on-pace tactics on Saturday with Greysful Glamour before the grey held on for a narrow win over Godolphin stablemates Best Of Days and Criadera.

"I don't think there is horse that deserves to win a race like this more than her," King told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

Trainer Mark Newnham, who also prepared Quackerjack last year, said Greysful Glamour had a genuine cheer squad because she is such a nice horse.

Source: Company Website

December 13: Racing Victoria Limited: Upset Flemington winner injured

Yesterday's surprise Flemington winner Memphis Rock is set for a stint on the sidelines through injury.

Memphis Rock ($21) was the longest-priced winner across nine races at Flemington when claiming the $75,000 Prince of Penzance Plate (1200m) under benchmark 70 handicap conditions, just a few hours after younger brother Acrobat won the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Randwick on debut.

Winning rider Damian Lane told Racing Victoria stewards that Memphis Rock felt amiss on pulling up and a post-race vet examination revealed the gelding to be lame in the near foreleg.

Former racecaller Bryan Martin is a part-owner of Memphis Rock and tweeted on Sunday morning: "X-ray (this) morning shows he has a fracture of the front sesamoid."

Source: Company Website

December 12: Racing Victoria Limited: Acrobat wins Inglis Nursery

It is still more than three months to the Golden Slipper Stakes, but trainer Ciaron Maher already appears to have a tight grip on the world's richest juvenile feature following a brilliant debut from Fastnet Rock colt Acrobat at Randwick.

Acrobat's victory in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery on Saturday saw him join three other stablemates at the top of Sportbet's market for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on March 20.

Gimcrack Stakes winner Enthaar is the current $6 Slipper favourite ahead of Acrobat ($15) and stablemates Sneaky Five and Fake Love both at $17.

Acrobat was passed in at the sales on a $1 million reserve at the Sydney Easter sales and retained to race by Coolmore.

His victory registered the fifth individual two-year-old win for the stable and the seventh juvenile win for the season so far.

Source: Company Website

December 08: Racing Victoria Limited: Group 1 winner to join O'Brien stable

Group 1 winner Cape Of Good Hope has joined trainer Danny O'Brien.

The former import, who has struggled for form since winning the Caulfield Stakes at his Australian debut, joins O'Brien from Lindsay Park.

The move comes after some interests - including industry giant Coolmore and trainer David Hayes - opted to sell out of the five-year-old entire.

Source: Company Website

December 05: Racing Victoria Limited: Rock on Wood wins Captain Cook

Quality galloper Rock On Wood shed the tag of a Group 1 winner in waiting in emphatic fashion when he dashed home to take out the Group 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

The Leanne Elliot-trained six-year-old had promised plenty at the highest level without being able to convert that into a Group 1 victory having finished third and fourth, twice, in four prior attempts.

The patiently-handled son of Redwood has made good improvement in his last two campaigns and finally struck the racing luck he needed to make it count on Saturday in the hands of Elliot's son Ryan.

It was an emotional Leanne Elliot, who shares in the ownership with her mother Jill Ker and sister Yvonne, as she fought back tears while waiting for her son to bring the six-year-old gelding back to the winner's enclosure after the race.

"It's just blimmin awesome," she said.

"I was worried about the (Slow 7) track but he went so good.

"He did it tough as he was out three-wide and I was thinking 'oh no,' but he was just awesome.

"It's Ryan's first Group One as well so that just makes it even better." Source: Company Website

December 05: Racing Victoria Limited: First stakes winner for Telperion

Flashy chestnut colt Stormy repaid the faith of punters who installed him as a $1.50 favourite as he powered to victory in the Group 2 Pete's Joinery, Precise Design & Build Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham on Saturday.

The Tony Pike-trained Telperion colt was the only race winner in the nine-horse field after impressing on debut at Awapuni last month.

Expected to race handy from an inside draw, rider Lisa Allpress followed the script to perfection as she bounced her charge out well before controlling a steady pace throughout.

Allpress kicked Stormy clear early in the home straight before fending off the challenge of Belardo filly Fonsalette over the final 200 metres to run out a comfortable winner, with debutant Taoiseach finishing third to register an all Cambridge-trained trifecta.

Source: Company Website

December 04: Racing Victoria Limited: Nantucket looking for back-to-back wins

After breaking his maiden in slick time, Nantucket is looking for back-to-back victories in the opening event at Pakenham on Saturday.

The three-year-old son of Rubick broke through for his first win when resuming at Bendigo last month, after a trio of metro second-placings to kick off his career in the Autumn.

Levi Kavanagh is hopeful that with a confidence-boosting victory now under his belt the gelding can string a few together with the aim to target the $1 million Inglis Sprint later in the summer.

Source: Company Website

November 29: Racing Victoria Limited: First Stakes wins for Ryan, Nugent

In-form sprinter Grandview Avenue provided Warrnambool-based trainer Simon Ryan and apprentice Teo Nugent with milestone moments in their respective careers by claiming the $140,000 Listed Fiorente @Sun Stud Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on Saturday.

Nugent still claims 1.5kg in the metropolitan area and was unable to use his allowance in notching his first Stakes victory while Ryan described the victory as 'most definitely' the highlight of his career.

"I've won a Saturday race at Caulfield, won at Flemington and I have won a couple of races here, and just got beaten in a Mornington Cup," Ryan, who oversees a five-horse stable, said in reflecting on past highlights.

Grandview Avenue's Carlyon Stakes was his second metropolitan victory within eight days, both having come at The Valley, after he scorched over 955 metres in 54.74 seconds to defeat $1.40 favourite Meteorite on November 20.

Meteorite was withdrawn from the Carlyon Stakes, with his absence leaving 10 starters as Grandview Avenue won by 1.75 lengths after racing outside the leader Sartorial Splendor ($15), who faded into eighth.

Prophet's Thumb ($5 equal favourite) ran on strongly for second ahead of Prezado ($6), who settled off the pace and finished a further 1.5 lengths away in third.

Source: Company Website

November 29: Racing Victoria Limited: Almond Eye wins second Japan Cup

Champion Japanese mare Almond Eye ended her racing career in fine style, winning her second Grade 1 Japan Cup (2400m) at Tokyo on Sunday.

The five-year-old Lord Kanaloa mare won her ninth Grade/Group 1 race on turf, the most by a Japanese-trained horse, and ended the unbeaten records of three-year-old rivals Contrail and Daring Tact who finished second and third respectively.

Sunday's Japan Cup was dramatic from start to finish. The only foreign competitor in the field, French seven-year-old entire Way To Paris, delayed the start of the race by five minutes as dozens of barrier attendants eventually coaxed the unsociable grey horse into the stalls.

And once the gates were loaded and the field released, it was the turn of 2017 Japanese St Leger (3000m) winner Kiseki to steal the spotlight as jockey Suguru Hamanaka blasted almost 100 metres clear of the field at halfway.

Source: Company Website

November 28: Racing Victoria Limited: Will Price rides 100th winner

The majority of Will Price's riding career has been under strict COVID-19 restrictions, so the apprentice was understandably taken aback by a raucous noise as he took mare Ocean's Thirteen to the gates at The Valley on Saturday.

The noise - which was actually simple human urgings of encouragement - came from a handful of Ocean Thirteen's owners, and while such vocal support was once a day-to-day part of horse racing, it has hardly been the norm for much of Price's career.

"I'd only ridden in front of crowds for three or four months," the 20-year-old, who began his career just last spring, explained after booting home his 100th career winner.

"To ride a winner at The Valley on a Saturday and to have a few boys here is really super. I got a little cheer on the way to the gates too."

A crowd of up to 500 was permitted at Yarra Valley on Saturday for the first time in Victoria since early March, but while crowds won't return to the Melbourne courses until next Wednesday at Sandown, the part-owners of Ocean's Thirteen ensured their presence would be noted as their mare led throughout in the Vale Jim Marconi Handicap.

Co-trainer Dave Eustace couldn't help but notice their presence either.

"So pleased for the owners (on-course) and for the filly," he said. "They really deserved that. Great win.

"They've (owners) been very patient across the state. They've been looking to get out here and on-track as soon as possible. Hopefully we can get a few more here and get some crowds here to enjoy the racing."

Source: Company Website

November 27: Racing Victoria Limited: Watkinson wins Sany excavator

South Australian Ben Watkinson has scored a new Sany excavator worth $27,500 after claiming first prize in the promotion run on

With the promotion sponsored by Sany, Watkinson scored a SY16C excavator as the major prize while Queensland's Wendy Hutchings won a $5000 JB Hi-Fi gift voucher that was the second prize.

Watkinson, an apprentice electrician, said he couldn't believe he won first prize.

"I'll have to pull up a few trees in the front garden," Watkinson said.

"I entered it and I thought it's one of those competitions that you enter and don't win. and I ended up winning."

Sany is the global leader in excavator manufacturing and produces more excavators than any other manufacturers.

Their products feature European componentry, intelligent manufacturing and market-leading warranties.

Source: Company Website

November 25: Racing Victoria Limited: bet365, extend partnership

bet365 and have agreed to an early extension of their major partnership of the broadcaster, adding an additional year to the current arrangement.

bet365 will remain's exclusive wagering integration partner for weekday and Sunday race meetings from Victoria and South Australia, including major carnival days such as the Jericho Cup at Warrnambool this coming Sunday, the Warrnambool May Carnival, the bet365 Geelong and Ballarat Cups and the Adelaide Cup.

They will also remain the exclusive wagering integration partner for key shows The Analyser, The Wrap and After the Last. CEO Andrew Catterall said the extension will see bet365's partnership with increase to five years.

"bet365 have been a fantastic partner for and we are very appreciative of their agreement to take up an early option to extend our partnership for a further year. We have a strong working relationship with CEO, Daniel Moran, and Head Of Marketing, Dan Taylor, and see the early extension as a strong vote of confidence in the growing audience and engagement in," Catterall said.

"bet365's deep integration into over 300 race-day broadcasts throughout the year aligns strongly with their extensive sponsorship of country and provincial race clubs across Victoria and support of country racing."

bet365's Dan Taylor said the new agreement strengthens their support for country racing.

"We are thrilled to continue our relationship with and build on our commitment to racing in Victoria, especially country racing," Taylor said.

"No one covers more country racing than, and bet365 has invested heavily in supporting our regional tracks and cups, including the flagship bet365 Geelong Cup.

"Our new agreement is a signal that support for country racing isn't going anywhere and will continue."

November 25: Racing Victoria Limited: Positive signs for Udyta Clarke

Udyta Clarke remains in a critical but stable condition at the Monash Hospital after suffering a brain bleed, but there has been positive signs on Wednesday morning.

The popular trainer has been moved out of the emergency ward and has been opening her eyes according to long-term friend and colleague Julie Murray.

"It's still a very serious situation but she's such a fighter and once again she's giving it everything she has," Murray said.

"We've been so humbled by the generous support from so many in the racing industry and can't thank everyone enough for reaching out."

The much-loved horsewoman was hospitalised on Monday night after being found unresponsive at her Cranbourne property, with what was later diagnosed to be a hypertensive brain bleed.

Source: Company Website

November 23: Racing Victoria Limited: Trekking wins trial ahead of Winterbottom

Dual Group 1 winner Trekking prepared for this Saturday's $1m G1 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) by winning a barrier trial at Belmont on Monday.

The James Cummings-trained Trekking was one of five horses in the 1000-metre heat which included the Lindsey Smith's unbeaten Puissance de Lune mare Chantrea, who ended last season with wins in the Belmont Oaks (2000m) and Belmont Classic (2200m) at Listed level.

Trekking was ridden by Willie Pike in the trial, steering him to a long neck victory over Excellent Dream, Hoboken and Chantrea.

The leading Western Australian jockey, fresh from his third consecutive success in the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) aboard Inspirational Girl last Saturday, will carry Godolphin's all-blue colours in the Winterbottom aboard the six-year-old gelding.

"Obviously, Willie (Pike) is not used to the way James (Cummings) trains his horses but we just said 'come out neutral, get some cover and let him find his stride nicely the last furlong'," Cummings' representative Nacim Dilmi told The Races WA.

Source: Company Website

November 21: Racing Victoria Limited: More McNeil magic as Cobra disappoints

Melbourne Cup Carnival winner Shelby Cobra failed to perform to market expectations as Tradewind scored an upset win in the $175,000 Magnum Equine VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade (1400m) at Ballarat on Saturday.

Mark Zahra pushed the Michael Moroney-trained Shelby Cobra into the box seat from barrier four in the seven-horse field but the horse offered little from his trailing spot, fading into sixth, beaten 5.95 lengths by Tradewind ($31), who settled behind the leader Rock The Ring ($21) and under Jye McNeil's guidance didn't go around another horse.

Tradewind won by a short neck, with Sirileo Miss. ($5.50) sustaining her wide run from a rearward settling position for second while Super Yulong ($14) finished third a further length away.

Shelby Cobra became the third favourite priced at $1.65 or shorter to lose during the 2020 Melbourne Spring Carnival.

"The first thing I said to Mark (Zahra) was how disappointing he was and he agreed," Moroney said.

"But he did say that early (in the race) he found a spot and gave him a decent dig to get there.

"Mark said he got over-racing for a furlong, more than he wanted to, and then no sooner did he get him to relax again, the race was on in earnest (with Sirileo Miss. taking off from the rear of the field with 700 metres remaining).

"He just felt like it was upside down for him and the horse didn't cope with that. Ultimately, he agrees (he was disappointing) but he also might be at the end of his preparation now."

Source: Company Website

November 19: Racing Victoria Limited: Australian G1 winner salutes in Ireland

Australian Group 1 winner Comin' Through emphatically won his first race in over two years at Dundalk on Wednesday and will change stables ahead of his next start.

A EUR9000 (A$14,500) claiming race over 1609 metres at Ireland's only all-weather track was the scene of Comin' Through's breakthrough victory, ending an undesirable 17-start losing streak for Criterion's younger half-brother.

"I don't think the Australians will be too happy with me running a Group 1 horse in a claiming race," winning trainer Johnny Levins told

Ridden by 1.5kg-claiming apprentice Donagh O'Connon, Comin' Through ($4.50 equal favourite) won by seven lengths to collect the EUR5400 (A$8700) first prize at his second start for Levins, ahead of Boitron ($4.50 equal favourite), who finished fourth in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (1600m) as a two-year-old in October 2018.

"He was very stale when we got him and we just tried to sweeten him up," Levins said.

"We've done very little work with him. He had a nice run up here and we felt a pair of blinkers would sharpen him back up.

"He's hosed up and won by seven lengths. He's obviously rekindled some of his old form. I'll be happy enough if I can get another couple of wins out of him if he's not claimed."

Unfortunately for Levins and owner Jason McGannon, Comin' Through was subject of four claims at his EUR15,000 (A$24,300) claiming price, with Genesis Thoroughbreds the successful owner and Jack Davidson set to become his fourth trainer.

Source: Company Website

November 15: Racing Victoria Limited: Schmitts celebrate $129 winner

There were seemingly countless millions of dollars of prizemoney paid out in Victoria over the spring, but it is unlikely any of the money will be more gratefully received as the $12,100 won on Sunday at Geelong by the owners of the unwanted bolter Lady Cellarbration.

The mare, who was a 48-rater, won the 0-58 Handicap over 1733 metres for jockey Craig Newitt at the fixed odds of $101 while paying $129 for the win on the TAB. Although trainer and part-owner Dale Schmitt did not take up the odds, the winning prizemoney couldn't have come at a better time.

"I'm a builder by trade who has been training the odd horse since 1982 but times have been pretty tough lately due to COVID so the $12,000 is going to really help," the Kilmore-based trainer said on Sunday.

Schmitt said he had a row with his wife Narelle over the placement of the out-of-form mare to get her to the Geelong race as he said his wife was keen to run at Kyneton on Friday, where even a last placing would earn a more than handy $550. At Geelong, she had to finish in the top 10 of 13 runners to earn the $550.

"But I finally got my way and there you go, she's won us 12 grand."

Source: Company Website

November 15: Racing Victoria Limited: Vungers wins the Donald Cup

Vungers has demolished his rivals with a strong front-running performance to win Sunday's Donald Cup (1620m).

Punters launched into the Bendigo gelding pre-race and the son of Reset was given a peach of a ride by jockey Zac Spain to take out the $70,000 country cup.

It was a second Donald Cup victory for Bendigo trainer Brendon Hearps, who also won with Storm Rebel in 2001.

Hearps said he'd been expecting a good run from the seven year-old who jumped from the inside gate.

"I thought it would be a good show, he's drawn a nice alley, was down in the weights. He rode it good the kid.

"He'd done a tendon about two years ago and to everybody's credit they've worked hard on him for a year and we didn't think we were going to get him back but they've done a marvelous job on him but they've done a marvelous job on him.

"To the trackrider as well, there's only one bloke who can sit on his back because he throws them all every morning, he's a shocker."

Source: Company Website

November 14: Racing Victoria Limited: Sweet Deal wins The Hunter

Last year's Group 3 Tibbie Stakes winner Sweet Deal strengthened her affinity with Newcastle racecourse by winning the richest race at the venue on Saturday, the second running of the $1m TAB The Hunter (1300m).

Ridden by Nash Rawiller, Sweet Deal ($10) defeated early leader Special Reward ($13) by a length with Asiago ($9.50) best of the swoopers widest of all for third a further length away.

"The owners were talking about retiring her last year so thank goodness we went another 12 months," winning trainer John Thompson told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

"The mare runs well for Nash (Rawiller) obviously and that's the way to ride her, with a bit of cover she relaxes and then attacks the line - she was terrific.

"She's just a wonderful mare and she'll make a lovely broodmare."

Source: Company Website

November 14: Racing Victoria Limited: Allibor wins Sandown Guineas

History will ultimately judge whether he was a deserved winner, but for the time being the connections of the maiden Allibor were simply happy to celebrate their horse's victory in Saturday's $250,000 Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).

After the Caulfield Guineas runner-up Aysar was scratched due to a mishap in the stalls area two hours before the race, no runner boasted a domestic rating of 65 or more, making it possibly the weakest Sandown Guineas on record.

But when your horse put his head down to score in a Group 2 race worth $250,000, any thoughts of whether he deserves to win such an esteemed race is for another time.

"Just so proud of the horse and proud of the team - that was a huge thrill," said Liam Hoy, the stable representative of trainer Symon Wilde.

"It was a little bit of an afterthought (coming to) the Guineas. Condolences to the Hayes/Dabernig team as obviously Aysar was going to be the one to beat.

"You need a lot of luck in the game, I suppose, and it was just on our side today.

"Just so rapt for Symon and the team. They work very hard in Warrnambool and Ballarat."

Source: Company Website

November 14: Racing Victoria Limited: Kah wins Zipping Classic on Sound

Jamie Kah made it a treble of winners at Sandown on Saturday after producing one of the spring's best judged rides to partner the former German horse Sound to his first win in Australia in the $250,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m).

It has taken the eight-year-old Sound (formerly known as Sound Check) 19 starts to win his first race in this country but it is doubtful the horse has ever enjoyed a better ride after Kah out-thought her rivals with her decisive mid-race move.

Source: Company Website

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