To disqualify a
dog which illegally interferes with another during the running of a race is
not an example of "winning at any cost" or poor sportsmanship. It must be a
necessity if the standard of Whippet racing is to improve. However, it is
not this point which is difficult to accept, but rather, the definition and
ultimate judgment of interference itself. If greater understanding and
acceptance of this latter point can be promoted then considerable grief and
hurt feelings most certainly will be avoided in the future. The Official
Rules and Regulations for the Whippet Racing Association under Section 4.0
state: "Any Whippet who fouls other racers based on unnecessary bumping,
fighting, riding, or interfering will be disqualified from all placement on
the race where the foul was committed. The Whippet or Whippets causing the
intentional foul will not be allowed to race again during that particular
WRA Meet." Here is the crux of the matter then, for, while some people
choose to ignore all interference short of a knock-down-drag-out brawl,
others consider any form of contact one dog makes with another to be a
foul. Between these two extremes lies the answer to the problem at hand.
To judge whether a dog fouls is to judge whether a dog is "running to the
lure" or simply "running another dog." Some of the more common cases of
LEGAL BUMPING are:
|Figure 1: Dog
B runs between dogs A and C in chasing thelure and, in so doing, bumps
dogs A and C. However, dog B does not turn his head but simply runs
the shortest route to the lure. THIS IS LEGAL BUMPING
|Figure 2: The
lure bounces, as indicated in the diagram, and dog B, who was in the act
of passing dog A as the time the lure moved, cuts in front of dog A,
possibly hitting him in the process but still attempts to run the
shortest path to the lure. THIS IS LEGAL BUMPING
Figure 3: Dog B tries to
go over dog A. This is a rare incident but it may be a legitimate
attempt to catch the lure. It may be caused by a sudden shift in the
direction of the lure followed by dog A cutting in front of dog B who
is in mid-stride. In judging a case such as this, one should consider
the collision to be "innocent" if dog B continues after the lure and
ignores dog A after the collision.
THIS IS LEGAL BUMPING
What about illegal interference? Some of the most
common cases are:
|Figure 4: Dog
B "rides" dog A, that is, dog B makes no attempt to pass dog A but,
instead, tries to force him off the track or away from the lure thus
impeding dog Aís speed and direction.
THIS IS A DISQUALIFYING FOUL
Dog B swerves from his path to the lure, hits dog A once or several
times, then continues after the lure. This is usually obvious since
the dog committing the foul will "turn his head" or look before running
at and hitting the other dog. THIS IS A
Dog B attempts to pass dog A. Dog A cuts in front of B, hitting
him once or repeatedly, to prevent B from reaching the lure first.
Again, a head turn is usually obvious in such a situation.
THIS IS A DISQUALIFYING FOUL
|While these are
the most common instances of "bumping", there is one further case
which requires comment here. This is the case where a dog "turns
itís head" but doesnít actually interfere with the progress of
another dog. While the intent to foul may be there, the dog should
not be disqualified unless it actually interferes.
secretaries should, whenever possible, acquaint new Whippet owners
with the aforementioned facts on interference and help them develop
training programs for their novice race dogs thereby preventing such
dogs from becoming possible "bumpers".
if one is judging fouls and any doubt arises as to whether a foul
was committed, such a foul should not be called.
Similarly, if the judge is certain a foul was committed, he should
report it to the racing secretary without hesitation.