Majority of jockeys expected to be allowed to ride when British racing returns
A significant number of jockeys will be able to participate in races once the sport resumes in Britain, with inexperienced claiming riders the only ones likely to initially miss out.
There had been confusion over who would be permitted to ride when racing returns following an update sent to trainers on Thursday by the BHA, on behalf of the cross-industry resumption of racing group, in which it outlined that only the "more senior riders" would be allowed to participate to reduce the risk of injury.
The update prompted concerns among jockeys that rides would be restricted to those above a certain age or those who had the most experience, but on Friday the Professional Jockey Association (PJA) confirmed riders with a full licence would be able to take part.
Dale Gibson, PJA executive director (racing), said: “We were pleased that there will only be a limited restriction on jockey bookings which is very good news for full jockeys, although of course we recognise that this is potentially frustrating for inexperienced claiming jockeys.
“We are awaiting further detail from the BHA regarding fall and incident data, before any decision on restrictions is finalised. We can assure [riders] that any restrictions will only be temporary and we will seek to have them lifted at the earliest opportunity, whilst offering ongoing support to those who need it through our recently confirmed coronavirus jockey support package.”
In its update to trainers, the BHA stated that restrictions on jockeys “will be reviewed continually as resumption progresses” but it is understood discussions are continuing around allowing all jockeys without a claim, including those who are still apprentices, to ride.
Planning continues to take place within the BHA for the resumption of racing with a number of scenarios on the table, although the prospect of quarantining individuals to allow them to participate at fixtures is reported to be less favoured as part of the approach after pushback on the idea by some participants.
Instead, behind-closed-doors models being rolled out in France and Germany appear likely to be used as a template for British racing when it presents its case to government to restart the sport, with Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer and chair of the resumption of racing group, speaking to officials from those countries, and Ireland, next week.
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