Jockeys to be compensated for late non-runners

28 Nov 2014 Financial/Political

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in conjunction with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), has today announced that from 1 January 2015 jockeys will receive 40% of their riding fee for any non-runner declared after 9am on the day of a race. This is a direct result of the PJA and ROA working together and putting forward a joint proposal to BHA.

Notification of non-runners after 9am on the day of the race means jockeys lose out on income and reduces the likelihood of securing a ride on a different horse. In addition to this, jockeys may incur unnecessary travel expenses prior to being notified that their ride is a non-runner. The new Rule will see jockeys compensated in such circumstances, with Flat riders receiving £47.32 and Jumps riders £64.60.

The compensation fee will be paid for by the owner and based on current numbers of non-runners the total cost to owners will be similar to an inflationary increase in the riding fee. With this in mind, jockeys have agreed to waive a rise to the riding fee in 2015, ensuring that the fee – which all parties agree is justified – can be accommodated without extra cost to owners.

A small working group comprised of representatives from BHA, the PJA and ROA and tasked with looking at a range of issues affecting jockeys’ finances has met on a number of occasions in 2014. This proposal was approved by BHA’s Rules Committee and Board this month, and brings Britain in line with many other countries, where jockeys receive all or some of their riding fee if their booked ride is a late non-runner.

Will Lambe, BHA Director of Public Affairs and Policy, said:

“Late non-runners are frustrating for everyone, including owners, trainers and punters, and directly inconvenience jockeys from a financial point of view, and also in terms of missed opportunities for other rides and often unnecessarily incurred travel expenses.

“We have held very constructive discussions, and it is particularly pleasing that a solution has been reached which in part addresses the issue without increasing costs to owners.

“BHA also recently announced a review of non-runner systems and processes with a view to further reducing the non-runner rate as part of a raft of initiatives to address small-field races. This review is under way.”

Richard Wayman, Chief Executive of ROA, said:

“On the back of detailed analysis produced by the PJA illustrating the finances of jockeys operating below the highest level, the ROA has been sympathetic to finding ways to improve their situation without increasing the already considerable costs borne by owners. Non-runners, particularly those announced relatively late in the day, can prove expensive for the riders involved and the ROA felt it was reasonable to support the introduction of a straightforward fee in such circumstances.

“Based on the current number of non-runners, the amount that would be paid by owners is similar to the cost of an inflationary rise in the riding fee, which would otherwise have been applied, meaning assistance can be provided to unfortunate riders without, in total, increasing owners’ expenses.”

Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of PJA, said:

”We would like to thank the ROA, and in particular Rachel Hood, Richard Wayman and ROA Council Member Alan Pickering, for working so constructively with us to get this important principle, which was supported by the PJA Board, formalised in the Rules of Racing.

“Little frustrates jockeys more than setting off or arriving at a racecourse only to discover their intended mount won’t be run. Our analysis shows this will cost individual owners very little, and collectively will cost owners at worst marginally more than an inflationary riding fee increase, which this agreement replaces for 2015 alone.

“An inflationary increase is likely to have been only around one to one-and-a-half percent, which in itself would have been subject to a myriad of deductions for jockeys. This non-runner fee will only be subject to any deduction from their agent, so hopefully jockeys will see the benefit of this more than an inflationary increase, even if one of the outcomes is a reduction in non-runners, which I’m sure everyone would welcome.”

The move to compensate jockeys on late non-runners will be monitored by BHA, in consultation with PJA and ROA