Talking Horses: Listen to jockeys battle ladders with race officials | Horses race - petsitterbank

Talking Horses: Listen to jockeys battle ladders with race officials | Horses race

Ahis week, new war of words between the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA): two authorities which seem to be, for the moment at least, in perpetual antipathy.

The latest dispute concerns the BHA’s announcement last week that the 3lb Covid allowance for runners, which has been in place since June 2020, will be replaced by a general 2lb increase in weights from March 26. The allowance was introduced when the races came out of lockdown in June 2020, but with weigh room saunas banned to maintain social distancing. The jockeys – or the roughly 250 people who responded to a survey – then voted to keep the saunas closed, but apparently in the hope that the £3 allowance would be kept.

Instead, the BHA – who also consulted with trainers because any increase in weights has potential welfare implications at the other end of the scale – opted for a general increase of 2 pounds.

A pound – or 453g of cool money – might not seem like a lot, and for some riders at least, it isn’t. For others, however, those who are engaged in an eternal battle against their own body, it is as if the BHA is insisting, quite literally, on its pound of flesh.

Adam Kirby, winner of the Derby last year, is certainly part of this group and was one of the first to criticize the BHA’s plan last week. “I don’t understand why the allowance was an issue in the first place,” Kirby told Sky Sports Racing. “Three books help us tremendously. It is not an obstacle for horses. Track records have been broken and the strength of the horses is good.

The BHA, on the other hand, would argue that it needs to look at the issue more generally and take into account the views of other stakeholders. This includes both trainers and owners, who would rightly be concerned about the effect of increased weight on young horses in particular – the vast majority of flat horses, after all, continue to grow and develop. develop throughout their careers – and also the other major source of sport. funding: bettors.

In this regard, the BHA is rightly concerned about a growing disparity in recent years between the weights published on race cards and the actual weight in the saddle of a horse. Riders already receive an allowance for their body protector, which was increased from 2lbs to 3lbs when the more effective level two protector became mandatory in 2018. Flat jockeys also receive an additional 1lb allowance for “warm clothes” during the winter months.

With the Covid allowance too, this means that the rider of a horse willing to carry the maximum weight of 9st 12lb in a flat handicap this afternoon will actually tip the scales at 10st 5lb without being flagged as ‘overweight’ . There is, of course, an argument that relative weight is what matters, and that horse A still gives B 2 pounds if that’s what their respective handicap marks say he should. But this assumes, for example, that the relationship between the weight carried and the performance of a horse is linear, even if the actual loads increase well beyond 10e.

Dale Gibson, the acting chief executive of the PJA after the recent departure of Paul Struthers, has suggested there is data – not yet published – that shows “the 3-pound allowance did not affect results”. It’s also not entirely clear how many jockeys will be seriously affected by the change. How many, for example, used saunas regularly in the first place? Was it something many jockeys resorted to occasionally, or a handful of them used almost daily?

The highest weights in the flat handicaps in 2019 – the only full year in which the 3-pound allowance was in place – actually had a better strike rate (19%) than in any of the five years from 2015 to 2019, when it was 17.25% overall and ranged from 16.86% to 17.91%, which does not suggest that the extra unpublished weight held them back.

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Hereford 1.00 Black Poppy 1.30 Perryville 2.00 Switch Hitter 2.30 Powerstown Park 3.00 Eritage 3.30 Stratagem 4.00 Sweet Auburn

Plumpton 1.40 Coolnaugh Haze 2.10 Guguss Collonges 2.40 Hecouldbetheone 3.10 Innisfree Lad 3.40 Rose Of Aghaboe 4.10 Legal Ok

Wolverhampton 4.30 Lincoln Dream 5.00 Famous Star 5.30 Umm Hurair 6.00 Denzil’s Laughing (nap) 6.30 Achnamara 7.00 Flatley 7.30 Thapa Vc (nb)

Thank you for your opinion.

Generally speaking, however, it seems fair and just that the discrepancy between published and actual weightings be minimized as much as possible. On the other hand, cyclists have been getting bigger, stronger and therefore heavier for decades and there is no reason to think the trend will stop anytime soon. The sport needs many hundreds of healthy, professional and dedicated jockeys to maintain the competitive racing offering for punters, many of whom, on the flat in particular, will maintain year-on-year a body weight with which their genes have a problem. .

In other words, the last 2lb is unlikely to be the last, and when a runner like Kirby – who is at the sharper end of this daily struggle right now – speaks out, it’s probably a good time to listen.

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