17 Mar 1997 Pre-2014 Releases

Changes to the Referral System

Published: 17 March 1997

The Stewards have decided to make an adjustment to the referral system which deals with jockeys who exceed a set number of days` suspension.

Currently, any jockey who is given a total of 12 or more days` suspension for either interference or misuse of the whip, is referred to the Disciplinary Committee on the next occasion he commits the same type of offence. If found in breach, he then receives a suspension for the offence, plus a minimum of 14 days for the accumulation of offences. Part of the suspension may be deferred for a period not exceeding six months, but it will take effect if the jockey commits the same offence in that time. This system was introduced on 1 January 1996 and the Disciplinary Committee promised to review it after a year.

Under the old procedure, any jockey who committed three riding or whip offences in a season was referred to Portman Square and in 1995 the Disciplinary Committee sat 33 times on referral cases.

However, since the new system was introduced only three jockeys have been reported to Portman Square.

Having studied the statistics for all jockeys given periods of suspension since 1st January 1996, the Disciplinary Committee agreed to extend the threshold of 12 or more days to 15 or more days from the start of the Flat Turf season on 20th March. Suspensions will continue to be cleared from a jockey`s record 12 months after they are incurred.

The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, Christopher Hall, said today:
“Overall, we are very pleased with the way the changes introduced last year have worked, and the number of referrals to my Committee has been reduced significantly. Clearly the threat of a minimum 14 day ban, should a jockey be referred, has acted as an effective deterrent. We said from the beginning that the matter would be subject to review and we feel that the increase of the threshold to 15 days is a fair and sensible move.”