The British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) Board and Rules Committee have approved a proposal from the Professional Jockey’s Association (PJA) for all Flat jockeys to be permitted a 1lb weight allowance in the months of December, January and February on a trial basis, to enable jockeys to wear an extra item of clothing.
After a particularly harsh winter last year the trial is designed to make winter riding conditions more comfortable for jockeys. A number of overseas jurisdictions permit a similar allowance.
The allowance has been implemented for Flat jockeys only. This is because it tends to be the case that All-Weather fixtures will continue to take place when Jump meetings are frozen off. Added to this All-Weather meetings are often held after dark, when temperatures drop further.
BHA will ask the Clerks of the Scales to monitor the trial and provide feedback, and will be hoping for positive feedback from the PJA’s members riding on the All-Weather during this period.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for BHA said:
“BHA is pleased to approve the PJA’s proposal for a 1lb winter weight allowance. We sought consultation with the stakeholders through the Flat Racing and Jump Racing Committees, and there was sympathy and support for the PJA’s request.
“BHA is keen to trial advancements where appropriate, especially regarding welfare, and we hope this trial is a success and can be made a permanent measure for the winter.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the PJA said:
“We approached BHA earlier this year regarding this proposal and are pleased it has been approved as a trial. It mirrors what happens in other countries that hold racing in cooler climates and will be of significant benefit to jockeys when riding in very cold temperatures.
“We would like to thank Dr Turner [Chief Medical Adviser for the BHA] and Ruth Quinn for their support and would certainly hope that, if the trial passes without any issues, this is something that can be rolled out across both codes.”
It has been confirmed that Racecourses staging both All-Weather and Jump racing during this period are able to recalibrate their scales between meetings of differing codes.