Ban The Whip Headlines – Sensationalist nonsense!

Before we get in to the races, it’s worth noting an interesting stance that the Racing Post appear to be taking on the use of whips in racing.

Tom Kerr’s column was quite balanced and highlighted that it is perception rather than reality that is shaping opinion around usage of the whip. I can’t disagree with that, however, the headline ‘Why Racing Must Ban The Whip’ was sensationalist nonsense. It misses the point too. The opinions of the masses can be shaped and honed by the messages that are delivered to them.

Where are the promotional campaigns showing that the whip is a necessary tool to help control a heavy, fast animal and that when used properly it is painless to the horse? A horse reacts to the whip mainly because of the noise that the whip produces when it makes contact – on most occasions, the horse barely feels the actual physical impact. It’s about education.

Imagine, for example, if the BHA released a video with a household name celebrity being whipped using the day-to-day cushioned version used in racing. It would be amusing, it would gain mass coverage and it would totally diffuse any welfare concerns. But then, the Racing Post needs to sell newspapers and the headline ‘No issue with whip’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

Coral Eclipse

Now that we’ve whipped up a frenzied appetite for this weekend’s racing, let’s start with the Coral Eclipse. This will be a real test for the three-year-olds against the older horses.

Barney Roy has to answer the stamina question. Will he have enough in the locker to see out the 1m2f trip? Well, his sire was a miler through and through, but there is stamina on the dam’s side of the family. I think he’s the best horse in the race and given there are any number of races Richard Hannon could have targeted, the yard clearly feel he will get the distance.

Cliffs Of Moher and Eminent are closely matched on their Derby performances, but Cliffs Of Moher looks the more likely of the two. He just ran out of puff at Epsom and this slightly shorter trip could be right up his street.

Decorated Knight and Ulysses are both in good form and I like them, but I feel they have a tough ask giving 10lbs to their younger rivals.

I think the betting market has it right by pricing Barney Roy and Cliffs Of Moher as the two market leaders, but I am more inclined to take the bigger odds about Barney Roy.

Over at Haydock, the Lancashire Oaks contains some nice fillies, but the pick of the bunch could well be Abingdon.

She is the highest rated horse in the race and won impressively on her comeback at Pontefract. The yard failed to bag a winner at Royal Ascot, but are not going too badly. Roger Varian’s start to July has been strong.

He’s got Ajman Princess who is a little quirky, but back on quicker ground we might see her outrun her odds.

If I was looking for an each-way angle I’d slightly prefer The Black Princess, who is still relatively lightly raced and has good form in Group races this season. She isn’t proven on the ground though. I think those three horses could fill all the places, so I’m tempted with a tricast.

For win purposes, despite it not being a very original suggestion, Abingdon is probably the most likely winner.

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