Vitoria Derby Day 2011 could be under threat with jockeys weighing up their options after a bid for extra financial support was rejected.
Victoria Racing Minister Denis Napthine said there would be no money allocated towards the National Jockeys trust in a move that has angered many riders.
At Moonee Valley on Saturday jockeys staged a vote and a unanimous decision was reached in support of the Australian Jockeys Association to pursue a $5 million donation from the state Government to the National Jockeys Trust.
The trust supports both jockeys and their families should their careers be ended as a result of serious injury or illness.
AJA general manager Des O’Keefe said riders would stop short of pulling out of any race meetings however they would make their point known by delaying race starts, avoiding official presentations and making their case in media interviews.
Napthine said he supported the idea of helping jockeys but that it wasn’t the role of the state government to get involved in this manner.
“Employment conditions and workers compensation arrangements for jockeys are directly the responsibility for Racing Victoria,” he said.
“Victoria, through RVL, is leading the way in looking after jockeys in terms of pay, conditions and welfare. I would urge any further discussions on these issues to take place between jockeys association and RVL.”
Chairman of the AJA Ross Inglis will have a one on one meeting with Napthine’s chief advisor, Patrick Clancy, on Wednesday.
It’s hoped that any industrial style action can be avoided as a result of the meeting and Victoria Derby Day will go ahead undisturbed.
That’s certainly the view of Victoria Racing Club CEO Dale Monteith who says they can ill afford any problems during the most important period in Australian racing.
“I would be very disappointed if jockeys caused any inconvenience to the Melbourne Cup carnival,” Monteith said.
“We would do more for jockeys than every other club in Australia combined. We encourage jockeys to participate in the Melbourne Cup parade and for every jockey who does, we donate $1000 to the National Jockeys Trust.
“We have done that for the past five years. We also promote their pin and win campaign.”