25 August 2021

One-meeting rule for jockeys to continue this year and in 2022

25 August 2021

Jockeys will continue to ride at one meeting per day throughout this year and next, after sending a “clear message” to the British Horseracing Authority that the majority of them are in favour of the arrangement.

The BHA and Professional Jockeys Association confirmed in a joint-statement that the protocol, initially introduced as part of measures to ensure racing’s safe return behind closed doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended through 2022.

The announcement follows a consultation with jockeys and industry stakeholders.

The BHA’s chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: “Jockeys played a key role in ensuring racing’s return in 2020 was a success, adapting to a new way of working in unusual circumstances while still producing at the highest level on the track.

Jockeys in action in the Ebor at York last week (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

“It is our job to do everything we can to ensure the welfare of our jockeys, and it has become clear over the last year that the overwhelming majority of jockeys appreciate no longer competing at multiple meetings per day, and having to contend with the physical and mental pressures this placed upon them.”

Dale Gibson, executive director of the PJA, said: “Horseracing is incredibly demanding on trainers, jockeys and racing staff – particularly given the size of the fixture list.

“When you factor in early-morning work, extensive mileage, financial uncertainty and the significant physical and mental challenges of being a jockey, it’s arguably the most challenging of professional sports for an athlete.

“The PJA conducted a comprehensive jockey welfare survey earlier this year, with almost half the membership responding.

“The one meeting a day rule was one area we asked members about. The clear message, particularly from Flat jockeys, was that there had been significant benefits to jockeys from the rule – which for most outweighed any negatives – and that the majority, including 72 per cent of Flat jockeys, wanted the rule to remain.

“Based on the survey results, the PJA board had no hesitation in asking the BHA to take this step, and I am sure that the vast majority of the membership will be pleased that it remains in place throughout 2022.”

This will allow us to achieve a better work-life balance, which is so important

PJA joint-president PJ McDonald added: “I am very pleased that the one meeting protocol has been extended, and believe strongly that it will benefit the long-term physical and mental health of riders competing today and in the future.

“This will allow us to achieve a better work-life balance, which is so important – whatever your profession.”

Former champion jockey Jim Crowley is among those to have welcomed the announcement.

“I think it’s good – a pity we didn’t do it years ago,” he told Sky Sports Racing

“In this day and age, there’s so much traffic on the roads now.

Jim Crowley has backed the continuation of the ‘one-meeting’ rule for jockeys (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Wire)

“I tried to get up to Haydock last week, and it took me seven hours! The volume of traffic is just increasing …

“I’m glad it’s worked out. Everybody is getting a chance – because if you might not be able to go to to one meeting, somebody picks up those rides.

“I think it’s a big plus for jockeys.”

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