Professional jockeys will be limited to riding only one meeting each day in order to maintain the COVID-safety policy in UK racing.
Following consultation with riders, trainers, and other safety stakeholders, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) announced the decision.
Following the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, a limit on jockey runs was implemented in 2020 as part of a set of early measures aimed at ensuring the spring/summer restoration of UK racing behind closed doors.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has stated that the ‘one-meeting per day protocol’ would be extended until 2022, with the safety safeguard being applied to all professional UK racing disciplines.
Ensuring the welfare of jockeys
The BHA’s Chief Operating Officer, Richard Wayman, said: “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.”
The PJA, which backed the BHA’s decision, revealed that it had conducted a welfare poll among its members, and found that 72 percent of jockeys agreed that the safety precaution should be kept.
“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,” read a PJA statement.
The PJA’s Executive Director (Racing), Dale Gibson, added: “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.”