A text message will be sent to every Melbourne Cup jockey warning a repeat of last year's mass whip breaches won't be tolerated as stewards threaten some of the biggest fines and suspensions in Australian racing history.
Only 12 months after a quarter of the riders in the Melbourne Cup flouted Australia's whip rule - including the first three jockeys across the line - a message will be sent to each of the 24 riders on Tuesday morning about their obligations this year.
Racing Victoria stewards fined six jockeys a combined $7700 for using the whip excessively in Australia's most watched race in 2018.
Those penalties included fines for Cross Counter's winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and placegetters Hugh Bowman (Marmelo) and Michael Walker (A Prince Of Arran).
McEvoy was hit with a $3000 sanction for using the riding crop nine times on the Godolphin horse before the 100-metre mark, four more than is allowed under the Australian rules of racing.
And with the thoroughbred industry's welfare efforts being heavily scrutinised during the spring carnival, Racing Victoria stewards are hellbent on all Cup jockeys adhering to the rule.
"If a jockey goes over it has to be a significant penalty and they've been made well aware of the whip rule which they ride under every day," chief steward Robert Cram said. "Given the magnitude of this race we know the spotlight is on us.
"The penalty is going to be a significant suspension and fines, but we also have to take into account the magnitude of the breach. We don't want to see what happened last year happen again.
"The jockeys will all be sent a text message through the [Victorian] Jockeys Association. We'll talk to them before the race as well to remind them of their obligations with the whip and about riding safely. We don't want jockeys flaunting the rules just to win the Melbourne Cup."
A total of seven overseas-based jockeys will fly into Australia to ride in the Melbourne Cup including Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Joao Moreira. All ride under slightly different whip rules in each of their jurisdictions.
Six-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams last month urged Australian racing authorities to take a strong stand and ban the use of the whip, a position which was rejected by some of the industry's highest profile trainers and jockeys.
If a jockey goes over it has to be a significant penalty and they've been made well aware of the whip rule which they ride under every day.Chief steward Robert Cram
The NSW Trainers Association has lobbied regulators to lower the amount of whip strikes to between five and seven in total per race, a model similar to one used in France.
Stewards are cognisant of the fact the Melbourne Cup is run over 3200m and jockeys have to be patient with their use of the whip but have a general threshold of 15 strikes in total before imposing whip penalties.
All riders have unlimited use of the riding crop in the last 100m of any Australian thoroughbred race on flat ground.
"You've got to be patient [in staying races] but at the same time Australian racing has rules in place," Prince Of Arran's Melbourne Cup jockey Michael Walker said. "We need to abide by them. They're padded whips and they're not designed to hurt a horse, they're designed to make a noise, which they do."
Added Vow And Declare's jockey Craig Williams: "They're the rules and it's an aide to encourage horses. It's part of your riding for a specific type of horse. You know the rules and you don't break them."
The winning jockey will pocket $220,000 in percentages from Tuesday's race.
Stewards resumed an inquiry into Billy Egan's handling of Victoria Derby runner-up Southern Moon on Monday.
- SMH/The Age