Minimum weight to return to normal in Victoria with support for change lacking
The minimum weight for Victorian jockeys will return to 54 kilograms (8st 7lb) as of August 1, Racing Victoria announced on Thursday.
There was a push from the Victorian Jockeys Association to raise the minimum weight to 55 kilograms (8st 9lb) after 60 per cent of the membership voted in favour of pushing for a 1kg increase, but RV last night announced that there was not enough support for the move across the industry.
Due the Covid-19 pandemic the weights in Victoria were raised to 56 kilograms (8st 11lb), a concession due to jockeys not being able to use their usual methods to make weight, and RV chief Giles Thompson said that would remain until the start of next season (August 1) to give riders time to adjust.
“Victoria remains the only state with Covid-related increases to its minimum weights in place," Thompson said. "Following consultation with the VJA and ATA [Australian Trainers Association], it is clear that there is not a definitive push from all stakeholders to maintain the increases in perpetuity.
"To that end, we have determined that minimum weights for jockeys at all meetings will be returned to pre-Covid levels next racing season which will allow riders plenty of time to adjust. We will continue to review it based on the circumstances within the Victorian community."
A survey of ATA members showed 54 per cent were opposed to the move. "We had roughly 54 per cent of the members surveyed against the change, and 46 per cent were ambivalent or were supportive of the change," said ATA chief executive Andrew Nicholl. "There were some very positive reasons put forward for the change, there was some very telling reasons against the change."
Nicholl cited the fact that jockeys are already allowed to ride 0.5kg overweight, and with additional equipment not included that meant a rider could already get legged weighing as much as 1.4kg above the advertised weight in form guides. He also said trainers had concerns about smaller-framed horses having to carry extra weight.
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