If we had a dollar for all the people with an anti-racing bent over the years who warned us that the jockeys' whips were actually striking their boots, not the horses, we'd have quite a pile of cash to lump onto the proposition that those are the same types of people now working hard to have that outcome actually be true, reports the Racing Post HK.

Clearly, they were lying. The cautionary tale was rolled out before an impressionable youth that jockeys were all crooks who didn't hit horses with their whips because basically they were not trying to win on the particular horse we backed (although how the jockeys were in possession of that piece of information was a mystery). And by not whipping horses, jockeys were surreptitiously sabotaging their winning chances.

Live long enough and you see pretty much everything.

So, now they have come full circle in Australian racing, with jockeys left right and centre being fined for actually using whips to strike horses and trying to win races, and Tye Angland - not once but twice, mind you - escaping such a charge by showing the stewards that he was in fact hitting his boot. There's some irony for you.

Whatever anyone wants to say about Zac Purton, he's no shrinking violet and his comments after a whip-assisted winning double on Saturday at Sha Tin drove home that sense of irony.

Purton, nearly the topweight in any free handicap of whip 'finees' in Australia this past couple of years despite being based here, threw the kitchen sink and anything else that wasn't nailed down at reluctant hero Rouge Et Blanc. On a more willing Washington Heights, he was more persuader than standover man.

His post-event comments, that it's nice to ride somewhere where riders are encouraged to win the race, were a timely reminder to this week's big stewards' conference in Australia.

Racing does seem to have moved a fair way from its roots when "I was hitting my boot, sir" is one of the top 10 arguments a jockey will produce in the room to save his or herself.

Relevance to Hong Kong racing? Well, fortunately, as Purton says, nearly none. Here, flogging a dead horse isn't tolerated by stewards, fines for hitting out of contention runners are right and commonsense - everyone else, get on with trying to win.

This is one of those discussions at the stewards' conference where Kim Kelly gets to sit in the corner, hand over his mouth and sniggering, while inexplicable treatments are batted back and forth for a boil on the rear end of Aussie racing born of its relentless attempts to appease people who will not be appeased.

The Australian Racing Board, a toothless, pointless gathering of three people in a broom cupboard, that purports to speak for and legislate on horse racing in that country cedes ground in a fashion that would have embarrassed Neville Chamberlain, modern history's most famous appeaser.