The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that, as of 1st January 2013, the minimum riding weight for Flat racing will be raised by 2lb, to 8 stone.
The amendment to the Rules, implemented by the BHA and developed in consultation with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), is one of a number of changes aimed at assisting jockeys’ welfare. The minimum weight was last raised in 2002, from 7 stone 10 lb to 7 stone 12 lb.
Dr Michael Turner, Chief Medical Advisor to the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“The initiatives being implemented in 2013 represent a significant forward step for the welfare of British jockeys. The rise in the minimum weight in Flat racing was an obvious step to take in view of the fact that the average weight of the British population is rising at a rate of 1 lb every three years.
“Just as significant though are the wider initiatives being implemented with a view to assisting particularly young jockeys maintain and ride at a weight which is suitable for their wellbeing. It was also pleasing that Racing was unanimous in its support of the proposals.
“British Racing is fortunate in the level of care and support our riders receive from both the BHA and the PJA, in the form of nutritional and health guidance. Fitness levels among British riders has improved significantly in the last two decades.”
The further welfare developments aimed at assisting jockey welfare include:
- The Lowest Riding Weight (LRW) of all licensed jockeys who have ridden 50 or more times in the previous 12 months will now be based on data from the rider’s races in the previous season. This replaces the current system whereby the published Lowest Riding Weight is based on a self-declaration made by the jockey as part of the Licence application process.
- A Minimum Riding Weight (MRW) will now be allocated to all Apprentice and Conditional jockeys – or jockeys who did not achieve 50 rides in the previous twelve months – based on measurements carried out at the British Racing School and Northern Racing College by PJA Nutritionists
- A rolling programme of Bone Density (DEXA) scanning to be piloted from 1st January 2013. All existing Apprentice and Conditional jockeys will be scanned in the period 1st January to 1st July 2013, with all further applicants for an Apprentice or Conditional Licence (first time or renewal) required to be scanned prior to a licence being issued.
Dr Turner added:
“Research in Ireland and Britain has identified that low bone density scores are a potential problem for young jockeys. To enable these jockeys to seek appropriate advice at an early stage, the BHA is introducing the program of routine (baseline) DEXA scanning for Apprentice and Conditional jockeys.”