Frustrated jockey Tommy Berry claims racing’s controversial whip rules are making him look like a “bloke who bashes horses”.
Berry fronted stewards at Hawkesbury on Thursday for breaking a rule that says jockeys cannot hit their mounts more than five times before the 100-metre mark in a race.
He was fined $500 for striking Talisa once more than allowed as the horse was beaten 1-1/2 lengths into fourth place.
“What’s frustrating for me is that I’m not a big whip user. I don’t flog horses,” Berry told steward Marc Van Gestel.
“If you are going to count how many times I’ve hit it in the straight it’s probably less than most jockeys out there.
“I understand the rule but I feel like I’m being put down as a bloke who bashes horses because I keep offending this whip rule.
“And when people look at it they’re going to say ‘yeah, well he flogs horses’. Well I don’t. I hit them once every three strides.”
Van Gestel told Berry it was not the perception of stewards’ that he was an overly aggressive rider.
“No one is saying across this table that you flog horses,.” Van Gestel said.
“There’s a limited number of strikes and that’s what you’ve got to live with. Everyone’s got to adjust.
“If you are going to win a race and you’ve hit it too many times (and) you’ve been beaten by a short margin there’s all those other consequences as well so you’ve got to ride within the rules.”
Berry, whose four Group One rides at Randwick on Saturday include leading TJ Smith Stakes chance Chautauqua, has breached the whip rule 11 times in his past 400 rides.
He appeared before stewards five times last month and his fine on Thursday came after he was one of four jockeys hit in the hip pocket for breaches during the BMW meeting at Rosehill last Saturday.
Berry was fined $600 for his ride on Supara in the Emancipation Stakes.
Hugh Bowman was fined $2000 for his ride on BMW winner Preferment and Blake Shinn was slugged $1000 out of the same race.
Kathy O’Hara was also $800 lighter in the pocket for her use of the whip on Group One Vinery Stud Stakes winner Single Gaze.