Tasmanian Jockeys’ Association (TJA) secretary, Kevin Ring, has been angered by comments made by members of Parliament in regards to the use of drugs by the state’s jockeys.
The comments were made by Greens MP, Paul O’Halloran, who claimed a large amount of jockeys in Tasmania were using drugs to keep their weight down.
Mr Ring is asking people to remember that a recent drug test found only one of 500 jockeys tested had positive to a prohibited substance.
“I am annoyed by comments from certain members of the Parliament that jockeys are turning to drugs,” Mr Ring said.
“Agreed, it is an (Occupational Health and Safety) issue, but the Tasmanian Jockeys Association with little resources, and the assistance of Tasracing, have been trying to address this issue for the last few years.
“Programs are in place that the TJA fund and Tasracing help implement, with no funding from other areas, such as government or drug rehabilitation groups.”
Mr Ring said that jockeys were able to turn to Association hired professionals to help them maintain their weight in a healthy manner, but would appreciate further government funding to help recovering users.
“We had access to sports medicine consultant, Dr David Humphries, for when riders were injured or needed diet or fitness programs,” he said.
Mr Ring also pointed out that drugs are not only a problem found in racing.
“We must remember that there is not just a drug problem in horse racing nationwide, but it’s a huge problem in everyday life worldwide” Mr Ring said.
“As a leading Sydney jockey said during the week, he had a massive drug and alcohol problem, you can put all sorts of things in place and give advice, but it’s the individual who has to want to help him or herself.
“This particular jockey, to his credit, helped himself and accessed the required care with support of others.
“Possibly the government or others can assist with funding for these programs.”
Despite the Mr O’Halloran’s comments, Tasmania currently has one of the lowest rates of drug usage by jockeys in the country.