Jockey Billy Egan returns to scale after riding Plein Ciel to dead heat in race 7, the Keogh Homes Travis Harrison Cup, during racing at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne, Saturday, June 13, 2020. (AAP Image/Supplied by Reg Ryan, Racing Photos) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jockey Billy Egan returns to scale after riding Plein Ciel to dead heat in race 7, the Keogh Homes Travis Harrison Cup, during racing at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne, Saturday, June 13, 2020. (AAP Image/Supplied by Reg Ryan, Racing Photos) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Stewards protest they still have the whip hand

Protests over excessive whip use will be considered on merit after Racing Victoria stewards suspended and fined Billy Egan for breaching the whip rule in a controversial Travis Harrison Cup on Saturday.

Correct weight was declared after Egan's Plein Ciel and $2.70 favourite Shot Of Irish dead-heated - before stewards had the chance to review footage of the race.

A subsequent inquiry found Egan had struck Plein Ciel 21 times, including nine strikes before the 100m mark - four more than allowed - before the import caught frontrunner Shot Of Irish on the line.

Egan's six-meeting ban and $1500 fine raised the ire of favourite backers, many of whom ventured their frustration on social media.

RV chairman of stewards Robert Cram said Egan's transgression "wasn't identified until after correct weight" and with no owners on course, there was no scope for any party other than a trainer to lodge an objection.

"If a protest was lodged, we could consider it, as we do with any protest, on merit," Cram said.

Jockey Billy Egan (outside) whips Plein Ciel on to a dead heat with Shot of Irish in the Travis Harrison Cup on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied by Pat Scala, Racing Photos
Jockey Billy Egan (outside) whips Plein Ciel on to a dead heat with Shot of Irish in the Travis Harrison Cup on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied by Pat Scala, Racing Photos

Egan has incurred the wrath of stewards six times since August with excessive whip use.

Emphasising the difficulty in policing the rule, Racing NSW stewards fined James McDonald $1500 after his winning ride on Word For Word at Rosehill on Saturday.

Sydney stewards identified McDonald's breach - 10 strikes before the 100m and 24 in total - from the inquiry room before correct weight was declared.

But stewards said they "could not be comfortably satisfied that Word For World gained an advantage by its rider breaching the rule prior to the 100m that resulted in it finishing first place in the race."

In 2016, Queensland stewards upheld a protest for a breach of the whip rule at the Sunshine Coast following a dead-heat between Stonecast and Rosella.

Stonecast's trainer Gary Duncan and jockey Sarah Eilbeck lodged a protest against Rosella's rider Taylor Williams.

Stewards found Williams had struck her mount eight times prior to the 100m, three times more than is permitted and that her actions materially affected the outcome of the race.

 

Originally published as Stewards protest they still have the whip hand



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