Thursday, November 29, 2012Contact: Robin Mounsey
Jockeys’ Minimum Weights In Flat Racing To Be Raised


  • Minimum weight to be carried in Flat racing to be raised by 2lbs to 8 stone
  • Additional monitoring introduced to aid jockeys’ welfare
  • Bone density scans introduced as licensing The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that, as of 1st January 2013, the minimum riding weight for Flat racing will be raised by 2lbs, to 8 stone.

    The amendment to the Rules, implemented by the BHA and developed in consultation with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), is one of a number of changes aimed at assisting jockeys’ welfare. The minimum weight was last raised in 2002, from 7 stone 10 lbs to 7 stone 12 lbs.

    Dr Michael Turner, Chief Medical Advisor to the British Horseracing Authority, said:

    “The initiatives being implemented in 2013 represent a significant forward step for the welfare of British jockeys. The rise in the minimum weight in Flat racing was an obvious step to take in view of the fact that the average weight of the British population is rising at a rate of 1 lb every three years.

    “Just as significant though are the wider initiatives being implemented with a view to assisting particularly young jockeys maintain and ride at a weight which is suitable for their wellbeing. It was also pleasing that Racing was unanimous in its support of the proposals.

    “British Racing is fortunate in the level of care and support our riders receive from both the BHA and the PJA, in the form of nutritional and health guidance. Fitness levels among British riders has improved significantly in the last two decades.”

    The further welfare developments aimed at assisting jockey welfare include:

  • The Lowest Riding Weight (LRW) of all licensed jockeys who have ridden 50 or more times in the previous 12 months will now be based on data from the rider’s races in the previous season. This replaces the current system whereby the published Lowest Riding Weight is based on a self-declaration made by the jockey as part of the Licence application process.
  • A Minimum Riding Weight (MRW) will now be allocated to all Apprentice and Conditional jockeys - or jockeys who did not achieve 50 rides in the previous twelve months - based on measurements carried out at the British Racing School and Northern Racing College by PJA Nutritionists
  • A rolling programme of Bone Density (DEXA) scanning to be piloted from 1st January 2013. All existing Apprentice and Conditional jockeys will be scanned in the period 1st January to 1st July 2013, with all further applicants for an Apprentice or Conditional Licence (first time or renewal) required to be scanned prior to a licence being issued.
    Dr Turner added: “Research in Ireland and Britain has identified that low bone density scores are a potential problem for young jockeys. To enable these jockeys to seek appropriate advice at an early stage, the BHA is introducing the program of routine (baseline) DEXA scanning for Apprentice and Conditional jockeys.”

    THE Professional Jockeys Association today welcomed the decision of the British Horseracing Authority to raise the minimum weight carried in races by Flat Jockeys by 2lb to 8st from 1 January 2013.

    Chief Executive Paul Struthers said: “These are really positive steps and are the result of a collaborative effort by the BHA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Turner and the PJA, particularly Dale Gibson, over a number of years.

    “It was always important that the holistic approach British Racing has taken in this issue continued, as opposed to simply raising the minimum weight. The monitoring, bone density scanning, weight rise and race planning changes do just that and will bring benefits to all jockeys.”

    Notes for Editors:

    1. The maximum weight carried in a Flat race will remain at 10 stone, resulting in a 2lbs compression in the weight range from 30 lbs to 28 lbs. This compression will not affect the race programme.

    2. There were 94 rides out of the total 59,592 Flat race runners which carried under 8 stone in 2011 (0.0015%)

    3. Riders will be permitted to ride at lower weights than their allocated LRW and MRW, however all rides accepted below these weights will be monitored by the BHA. In any situation where a rider accepts a ride below their LRW or MRW and is declared overweight, they may be required to provide an explanation to the BHA Chief Medical Advisor, and may be referred to PJA Nutritionists or, for multiple instances, a medical review or be referred to the Licensing Committee for formal action.

    4. The results of all bone density scanning tests will remain confidential and a low bone density score will not prevent the BHA issuing a licence to an individual jockey.

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