France Galop to shave 1lb off female riders' allowance after numbers rise
Reduction takes effect just days before Hayley Turner returns from ban
France's revolutionary weight allowance for female jockeys is to receive a spring trim after France Galop reviewed the effects of the first nine months of the measure.
While the full 2kg (4.4lb) allowance will remain for races over jumps, women riding in Flat races from March 1 will be in receipt of a 1.5kg pull in the weights.
France Galop referred to a 165 per cent increase in the number of winners ridden by women, who have accounted for twice as many rides as during the same period in 2016.
The timing of the change – which will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the measure's original introduction – is a blow for Hayley Turner, who will be just days away from returning to action at the end of a three-month suspension imposed by the BHA.
Turner is serving the ban after admitting to having an active betting account when she reapplied for her jockey's licence in August, two years after she had originally quit riding to pursue a career in the media.
Turner cited the introduction of the weight allowance as her prime motivation for returning to the saddle and had ridden ten winners in France before the ban, which is due to expire on March 13.
Turner: "2kg is quite generous"
Britain's most successful female rider admitted in a recent interview with the Racing Post that the exact terms of the allowance might be worth revisiting.
"I think it's great what the French authorities are doing to help the girls, but maybe claiming 2kg [4.4lb] is quite generous," she said. "Yesterday one of the girls had 4kg [8.8lb] off the horse's back and that might not be fair on some of the lads."
France Galop consulted with professional bodies, including those representing jockeys and trainers, before announcing the amendments, which will also see the total claim for female apprentices capped at 4kg for both codes.
France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild was a prime mover in the introduction of the allowance and said: "Nearly a year on from the inception of this weight allowance for female jockeys, the visibility of these sportswomen has been reinforced.
"France Galop hopes this positive effect will be long-lasting. The measure will therefore be continued while undergoing an evolution which has been widely discussed among racing's stakeholders."
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