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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

PJA highlights sources of help to riders after Swift's retirement

Dale Swift resorted to drastic measures in order to control his weight
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The Professional Jockeys Association has pointed to the various sources of help now available to riders following Dale Swift's decision to quit the ranks due to problems linked to weight management.

Speaking to the Racing Post, Swift said he had been left "miserable and depressed" and had resorted to self-induced vomiting, known as flipping, a practice that carries a number of significant dangers to health.

The 31-year-old, whose licence had been suspended by the BHA last Saturday after he failed to give a reason for missing a race at Lingfield, claimed "you're on your own" as a jockey and argued: "Perhaps more could be done, more counselling, along with the nutrition."

However, more than ever before is already being done to support riders with a confidential mental health support line now well established, while advice on nutrition is readily available through the PJA, as highlighted by the organisation's executive director Dale Gibson.

"Everybody's situation is different, which means it wouldn't be right for us to comment on Dale's situation specifically," said Gibson.

"However, someone once said to me that racing is the greatest sport in the world when things are going well - but, my word, that changes when things aren't going well. That's very true.

Dale Swift with Top Notch Tonto after a victory at Ayr in 2012
"There is now considerable help available to jockeys. At Oaksey House and Jack Berry House we have people like nutritionist Dan Martin and strength and conditioning coach Danny Hague doing wonderful jobs. The mental health line, funded by the Stobart Group's sponsorship of the jockeys' championships, has been there since August 2015 and has worked well."

Gibson added: "We are trying to stop flipping and encourage better weight management. A healthy diet and way of life is much better than yo-yoing."

Asked about Swift's situation, BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "An issue regarding Dale Swift has been referred to the BHA. We are unable to comment further at this time."

At Oaksey House and Jack Berry House we have people like nutritionist Dan Martin and strength and conditioning coach Danny Hague doing wonderful jobs

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