One meeting per day for jockeys retained until end of 2022

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.

All jockeys will be restricted to one meeting a day until at least the end of 2022.

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 last summer, has been extended to the end of 2022.

The announcement follows a consultation with jockeys, who believe the restriction is beneficial to their physical and mental health, and industry stakeholders.

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North Yorkshire former jockey Dale Gibson, who is executive director of the PJA and, himself, a longstanding champion of the interests of ridiers, said: “Horse racing is incredibly demanding on trainers, jockeys and racing staff – particularly given the size of the fixture list.

Racing's one meeting a day rule, introduced during the Covid pandemic, will continue for all jockeys until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

“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.”

PJA joint-president PJ McDonald, who is based in Leyburn, 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.”

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.

“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.”