Jockeys welcome BHA rethink on riders' 'holiday' fixture
The right decision made late is better than the wrong decision: that was the overriding message from jump racing figures after the BHA moved a purported jumps fixture at Ayr during the end-of-season break to a week later, in the interest of jockey and staff welfare.
Due to problems with the surface on Ayr's Flat track, the first card of a two-day meeting on April 30 was refashioned as a jumps fixture. However, as was pointed out by many, including champion jockey Richard Johnson, this impinged on a newly created six-day break at the end of the jumps season, around which many riders had already made plans.
The BHA, having admitted to an oversight, moved on Tuesday to postpone the new fixture to May 7, the day on which jump racing had initially been due to resume.
Johnson responded to the BHA, tweeting: "Thank you very much that sounds a great day plan. Hopefully everyone benefits #workingtogether @PJAOfficial"
That view was echoed by fellow riders on social media, including Aidan Coleman who tweeted: "Credit where's it [sic] due, well done for admitting and rectifying the mistake. Much appreciated"
Trainer Fergal O'Brien added: "If we're going to be critical when we think they've made a mistake, it's only fair to commend them for remedying it – Well done @BHAPressOffice"
Former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, now assistant trainer to partner Lucinda Russell, was most relieved that the meeting was saved, saying: "While understanding Richard's point, the opportunities for the southern-based jockeys vastly outweigh those making a living in the north. Having lost so many meetings we welcome the fixture on safe jumping ground on whatever day it's run."
Ayr's biggest jumps fixture of the year, the two-day Scottish Grand National meeting which traditionally ends the jumps season at the track, begins on Friday.
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