John O’Shea has joined a growing list of trainers who say they are baffled by a hardline stance on raceday treatment procedures.
As Melbourne trainer Peter Moody brought the issue to a head during an explosive television interview, O’Shea agrees too many new rules are confusing to the point where administrators are not sure what is right or wrong.
Moody faces a ban from training for presenting a horse at Pakenham on Wednesday after it mistakenly received a mud poultice on the day of the race.
O’Shea said Racing Australia boss Peter McGuaran’s uncertainty about whether a horse could legally be treated with ice on raceday underlined the difficult situation trainers faced.
“The person who has implemented the rules, when asked whether you could ice a horse, he was unable to give an emphatic answer,” the Godolphin trainer said.
“They criticise trainers for not knowing the rules and the person who sets the rules and puts the rules out didn’t know the rules himself.”
O’Shea is also concerned some of the treatment rules threaten the welfare of the horse.
“With the new rule you’re not allowed to administer fluids in 35-degree heat or 40-degree heat, the only intake a horse can have is water. Have you ever heard of something so preposterous?” O’Shea said.
“Welfare of the animal in the current climate should be the paramount concern.
“So if if you’re compromising the welfare of the animal it’s fair to say there are some major problems.”
McGuaran said he understood trainers had “reform fatigue” but stressed his job was to balance the primary objectives of integrity, jockey safety and horse welfare.
He is adamant the culture of training must change and says there had been too much reliance on medication.
“I stress, the rules are in black and white,” McGuaran told Sky Sports radio.
“There has been criticism there isn’t sufficient consultation, I can assure you there is a paper trail on each of these draft rules to the industry associations involved.”