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Letter of the Week

Wrong way, go back

I find the directive to have racehorses led in the clockwise direction in the parade ring to be totally wrong, for six reasons.
1. From the first days of education, horses are taught to be led from the near (left) side and it becomes natural for them to walk with the handler on that side. to be continually pushed sideways in the parade ring as they walk clockwise around each turn creates an unnecessary confrontation between horse and human on raceday.
2. The head, neck and shoulders of the horse dangerously blocks vision of the horse the strapper is following on each turn. The safety of these participants should be paramount.
3. Two strappers would solve the problem, but it would be an unnecessary and wasteful cost.
4. Prior to mounting, trainer and jockey are wedged between horse and fence with no escape from a fractious thoroughbred. Jockeys are told to mount their horses quickly as they walk past, with no opportunity to check their gear. That check therefore often has to happen behind the barriers.
5. For the safety of all concerned, the expanse of grass in the centre of the parade ring is far preferable for trainer, jockey and strapper. Horses led in the anti-clockwise direction are much easier to handle. Jockeys can inspect their gear and the flow of horses is not affected.
6. If the safety of spectators is a concern, they can be fenced away at a safe distance from the horses at a minimal cost to the industry.

Walter McShane
Longford (Tas)
Today's Racing
Sunday 21 October
Monday 22 October
Tuesday 23 October