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Jockeys Call For Minimum Weight Rise

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Jockeys are outraged after discovering that the national stewards’ conference held last week has postponed a rise in the weight scale.

There has been a recent call from jockeys to rethink the minimum weights in races in order to allow them to be able to ride without needing to starve themselves.

Victorian Jockeys Association chief executive, Des O’Keefe, feels that an increase in weights is necessary.

“It’s clear the population is bigger than it once was and … it’s pretty clear when you analyse the survey response in detail that the majority of riders feel the need for an increase,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

“The argument that if you put the weights up 1kg, the jockey’s body will absorb that kilo and they will be in the same position, is a poorly researched and ill-informed view.”

“This is not an argument about not doing anything.

“Doing nothing is easy, doing something that is positive is the only real option.”

Mr O’Keefe believes that an increase in weights is essential for the racing industry, with a recent study showing that only 2,475 males and 10,275 females would be suited to a career as a jockey based on the current weight system.

“If you broke down those numbers, one per cent or less would have any inclination to do the job, so you are left with a very small number who could or would do the job on the current weight scale,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“If we want to keep jockeys in the industry and attract others to it then changes have to be made.”

Mr O’Keefe is hoping that Racing Victoria will choose to put the weights up by an initial 1kg at the start of the 2011-2012 racing season.

“Our two-thirds of members who want change clearly would like that change to happen sooner rather wait for any further research that established what we already know,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

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