Stewards Stand Firm On Strict Safety Vest Policy

By: Ryan Clark
June 1st, 2011

After a national meeting of stewards earlier in the year jockeys were warned that there would be a zero tolerance stance taken on the modification of jockey safety vests in any way.

It was to be a national approach with the aim of further reducing the risk and injury associated with being a professional jockey.

Racing Victoria was especially vocal in their insistence that protocol ┬ábe followed and they’ve been stringent in applying their checks.

Still though jockeys continue to flout the orders and as a result last weekend alone five different jockeys were caught wearing a safety vest that had been tampered with.

All up four riders were caught in the same meeting at Cranbourne on Sunday and one the day before at Caulfield.

Chief steward of RVL Terry Bailey said the message had been made clear after the national chairmen of stewards meeting last month and throughout the media following that date.

Further to that chief executive of the Victorian Jockey’s Association Des O’Keeffe said that every jockey in the state had received individual contact about the crackdown via either text message or newsletter.

In Sydney alone in the past few weeks there have been more than 10 jockeys caught by the clampdown who were found to be possessing a modified vest or one with significant wear and tear.

Due to the numbers caught by stewards they maintain they will be vigilant well into the foreseeable future.

“We will be having a blitz for a while,” Bailey said.

The vest itself weighs around 500g and jockeys are given a 1kg allowance for wearing it.

New Zealand rider Daniel Stackhouse picked up a $1000 fine at Caulfield when stewards discovered his vest had virtually no padding on it at all.

It was a similar story for Kelly Myers, Ruth Bradley and Michael Carson at Cranbourne, each of them slugged with the same $1000 fine.

The other rider, Michelle Payne, is yet to have a penalty handed down with an inquiry into the incident currently adjourned.

“My understanding is that no rider had any intention of riding in the vest that was found not to conform,” O’Keeffe said.

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