Racing: Dettori defends the whip

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The Independent Online
FRANKIE DETTORI would give his mount an extra crack of the whip if it meant the difference between winning and losing. The former champion jockey believes the much-maligned stick is a necessary tool in racing.

"It's a multi-million pound game and if one extra crack of the whip can make the difference between winning and losing then obviously you are going to give the horse another crack,'' Dettori said. "What people don't understand is we rides horses day in day out. One crack for one horse is one too many and 100 for another is not enough.

"All horses are different so it is up to us professionals to decide what is right on the day," he said in a BBC Radio 5 interview to be broadcast this afternoon.

The Italian believes racehorses are pampered. "We treat these horses better than human beings. The thoroughbred is a man-made species made to run and these horses are worth millions. They are fed three times a day and get looked after better than us. The only thing we ask from them is to run for competition.

"England has very strict regulations on use of the whip. That's why people are getting suspended for it. The RSPCA is really very strong in England and they are trying to keep racing in control. I must say a jockey without a whip would be like a carpenter without a spanner.''

"First of all,'' he added, ''we need the whip to control the horse and also something we need to give the horse a message to go round a corner or to sustain his run."

Dettori expressed his disappointment at his well-publicised defeat on Swain in the Breeders' Cup Classic in Kentucky. "Of course I was disappointed. I remember crossing the line thinking everything had gone wrong.

"It was one of those things. It took me a week to get over it. The odd night I still dream about the race, thinking I should have done this or that. When I crossed the line I was cross with myself, I was cross with the horse. Basically it was one of those things which I didn't get right."