Jockeys voted against the running of further jumps races on Monday

By: Scott Mcglynn
27/03/2024
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
Jockeys voted against the running of further jumps races on Monday

Just two races over hurdles were completed at the Warrnambool on Monday before the remaining jumps races were cancelled. 

News Insights

  • Only two hurdles were run at Warrnambool on Monday.
  • Both were won by the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott team
  • Victoria is the only state to still have jump racing
  • Is jump racing now on borrowed time?

The jumps season is off to a poor start in Victoria with the track considered unsafe after only two races being run at Warrnambool on Monday. With South Australia banning jump racing just a couple of years ago, is there a danger of Victoria following suit? 

Australia has a fine history over the jumps, including the likes of Crisp who was sent to England to take part in the most famous jumps race in the world, the Grand National. It was a race that put him on the map as he nearly beat Red Rum who would win the race on three occasions to go down as the most famous winner and one who may not have gained that notoriety if he had not beaten Crisp.  

Gai dominates over hurdles as well 

As well as having the top two-year-old runners in the country on Saturday, the team of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott also produced the two winners over hurdles on the Monday card at Warrnambool. 
 
Okataina was the opening winner for the stable but that was in an incident-filled contest. Elementry won a delayed second race before the jockeys and stewards decided that the track was not fit for racing. 
 
The first of those was a winner on the flat at Kembla Grange but he had failed to go on from that. He set off in front in the maiden hurdle and didn’t see another rival, winning by a comfortable nine lengths with the trouble behind at the second last. 
 
Elementry was only seen once on the flat in February before being sent over hurdles. Jockey Ross O’Sullivan again kept it simple on the $12.00 chance, again taking up the running early to score by a length. 

Safety is the number one concern for racing 

The incident in the first race came from runners not sighting the second to last hurdle with a faller bringing down another runner. The subsequent inspection of the track led to a delay in the second race which was then run on ever-quickening ground. A second inspection then followed at which point the track was found to be unsafe to continue with the jump races on the card.  
 
Jump racing is only run through the autumn and winter as the ground is only really suitable at this time of year. It was officially a Soft 5 on Monday at Warrnambool but this was not found to be quite soft enough to be safe. 
 
There is no doubt that the safety of all participants should always be the number one concern with any racing whether that is on the flat or over jumps. The jockeys voted by a margin of 10 to one to abandon the rest of the jumps racing but where does it leave this side of the sport for the future? 

Can jumps racing recover from its current depths?

With Victoria the only state that has racing over jumps in the country, are we moving towards a future where Australia only has flat racing? That is entirely possible given the current moves by the Green Party who managed to convince South Australia to get rid of the obstacles. 
 
Even in England and Ireland, the home of jump racing, there is pressure mounting from anti-groups who want to see an end to the obstacles. How long Victoria can hold off the inevitable is debatable but incidents like Monday are not helpful to the long-term future of jumps racing in Australia. 

This is a very emotive subject with jump racing still hugely popular in the northern hemisphere but Australia slowly moving away from it. Some will view that as a good thing and others as a tragedy. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, it will be interesting to see what happens. 

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