Row escalates over jockeys' pay in Victoria after Hawkes comment
The row over pay for jockeys in one of Australia's largest jurisdictions has escalated in recent days, with a senior official calling trainer Wayne Hawkes' comments on the issue "naive".
Victorian Jockeys' Association chief Matthew Hyland has rubbished comments from Hawkes after the leading trainer suggested pay increases for jockeys should not be a priority for the industry.
Speaking on After The Last on Tuesday, Hawkes said jockeys were well remunerated for their work and suggested viewers should "look at the jockeys' car park and then look at everyone else".
Hawkes also said he believed Racing Victoria should focus on increasing Victorian prize-money across the board, instead of focusing solely on the demands of one participant group.
Speaking on Wednesday, Hyland said Hawkes' comments over-generalised the current discussions with Racing Victoria, in which the Victorian Jockeys' Association are seeking substantial increases to the current riding fee of A$200.
"I thought Wayne's comments were probably ill-considered, ill-informed and naive to say the least," Hyland said.
"Based on Wayne's comments, I think he's only visually looking at what he sees in front of him in the bubble of the training tower at Flemington.
"We've got 170 members and probably three-quarters of them are plying their trade at regional tracks all around Victoria.
"The job is tough and it's tough for everybody. It's tough for trainers as well, there's no question, but to generalise around the vehicle that Craig Williams drives is insulting.
"That's not what we're about and that's certainly hasn't made up part of our proposal to Racing Victoria."
Hyland said he was optimistic the two sides could come to a consensus on the pay dispute ahead of the new racing season commencing next Wednesday.
"We met with them earlier in the week and we're still in discussions and we'll probably meet again this week and hopefully they'll continue to progress," he said.
"August isn't too far away and they certainly know what our position is and we're aware of what their position is so hopefully we can find some common ground."
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