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23/07/02 Opinion: Please Protesters Stay Home on Saturday
Over the past two months at the major jumping meetings throughout Victoria a remarkably small group of protesters have been heckling our beloved jumps racing.

Victoria is one of three states who currently have jumps racing along with South Australia and to a lesser extent Tasmania. But the sports thrives in most other countries especially in New Zealand and throughout Europe.

Organisers of such a rally or protest, or whatever they are willing to call it, must feel as if they've failed when they hold their "protests."

Numbers at each of the "protests" have barely reached double figures and most don't even know one end of a horse from the other.

When challenged by some high ranking officials from an interstate racing club at the Grand Annual Steeple meeting at Flemington the protesters were nothing short of "pathetic" in their defence.

The officials, who should remain nameless, stated some well thought out points in support of jumps racing, but they were continually howled down by the small group of hecklers.

For the small group to yell out and interrupt the presentations of the feature jumping races in recent times is an absolute disgrace. Jumps racing is one of the tightest controlled parts of the racing industry in this country.

Do they seriously think if a horse doesn't want to jump it would be out there on race day? Jumps trainers, who are all put through rigorous training before being licenced, know from the first time they school a horse whether it is a natural jumper. If the horse doesn't want to do it, the trainer will not force it to! Why try and do it if it's all going to be a waste of time?

Speaking to anyone linked with the jumps racing industry, you would realise just how loved the horses are by those who work with them. From the devoted strapper, loyal owner or experienced trainer - the horse is treated just like a member of the family - and to suggest otherwise is an absolute joke!

Surely the protesters must realise that rather than making a stand and being taken seriously, they are actually the laughing stock of the day.

Perhaps they should take a tip. When you normally arrange any sort of protest it's a good idea to get numbers - you need more than a few members of the local "rent-a-crowd."

I will be at Moonee Valley in the stands admiring the excitement and drama of the time honours Hiskens Steeplechase laughing at you lot and admiring the talents of everyone involved in such a fantastic sport.

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