Racing: History-making jockey Michelle Payne calls for ban of whip

Melbourne Cup-winning Jockey Michelle Payne supports moves to ban the whip in racing.  

As concerns grow over animal welfare, the first female rider to win 'the race that stops a nation' insists the sport needs to move with the times, when it comes to one of the most controversial issues in racing.

"I'd be all for banning the whip," Payne told Newshub. 

Four years ago, Payne made a big statement on Prince of Penzance, making history without a single lash of her whip in the final 100m.

"I didn't need to, the horse was trying... I think the whip is overused a lot.

"I've ridden five Group One winners and probably used the whip like 3-5 times in most of those wins."

Payne's in New Zealand to promote the movie Ride Like a Girl - the inspirational tale of her rise to glory in the greatest race of all.

She's taking the opportunity to inspire change.

"That's what the name of the film means to me… it's about getting the horse to give everything for you, without having to beat it out of them. 

"For me, it's that connection with the horse - it's them wanting to give you everything they've got. That's why I love riding.

"You build these relationships with these beautiful animals and you're able to get the best out of them, because they want to do it for you.

"The horse should want to do it for you and if they don't, there's a reason for it." 

Payne's never been afraid to speak her mind and she knows her latest comments won't be welcomed by all in the racing industry.

Unsurprisingly, she makes no apologies. 

"It's a new era and a new time, and we have to move with that."

Payne supports the view that jockeys should carry a whip for safety reasons, but restrict its use for enhancing performance. 

"I think it's a great idea. It'll make riders such better riders because of it - they'll have to be.

"Even the restriction of five times a race. You've still got it, but it can't be overused."

A group of leading NSW trainers, including Kiwi Chris Waller, are currently leading a push to reduce the number of times a horse can be whipped in a race and Payne says she'd be more than willing to add her name to the cause.

"If it's for the benefit of racing going forward, definitely.

"I don't like seeing horses being beaten to the line, it's awful. We love these animals." 

And if there's one thing Payne's proved, it's that you don't need the whip to win.

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