Top Jockeys warn that riders could be forced to take drastic measures to make their racing weight after BHA scrap Covid allowance following closure of saunas
- Weight allowance was introduced when saunas could not be used due to Covid
- Riders were allowed an extra 3lb on top of their advertised riding weights
- Saunas have now been permanently removed from weighing rooms
Flat jockeys will demand talks with the BHA after the news that a weight allowance, introduced when saunas could not be used at the height of the Covid pandemic, will be scrapped before the start of the turf season on March 26.
Without racecourse saunas, riders were allowed an extra 3lb on top of their advertised riding weights to compensate.
Saunas have now been permanently removed from weighing rooms but the 3lb allowance is also going.
Martin Dwyer (above) is among the top jockeys to hit out at the weight changes by the BHA
In its place, minimum riding weights will rise from 8st to 8st 2lb on the flat and from 10st to 10st 2lb over jumps.
But senior jockeys, including Martin Dwyer, Richard Kingscote and Jason Watson, voiced fears that the changes could force jockeys to take drastic, unhealthy measures to make weight.
Despite the British Horseracing Authority’s announcement arriving in a joint statement with the Professional Jockeys Association, riders also hit out at a lack of consultation over the issue.
Dwyer said: ‘We feel like we are being dictated to in our everyday working life. We weren’t even consulted.
‘Jockeys’ lives are difficult, managing our weight and fitness. We lost saunas two years ago but the 3lb allowance made it workable.
‘There has been a lot of talk among senior jockeys. We want a voice and more consultation on this.’