THE Channel Islands Horseracing Authority, the regulator of Jersey racing, has taken the unusual step of differing from the British Horseracing Authority on the matter of jockeys’ weights.
Recently, the BHA announced that it would raise the minimum weight carried by 2lb, increasing the top weight by the same amount.
However, at the same time it will scrap the 3lb allowance it introduced on health grounds during Covid when saunas provided in changing rooms were ruled out of bounds.
This move has proved highly controversial.
The CIHA has taken a different view. It believes the practice of jockeys shedding weight rapidly in a sauna shortly before racing is contrary to their wellbeing.
Some UK jockeys have argued that their natural body weight has increased during the lengthy Covid period and the removal of the 3lb allowance is a retrograde step.
It seems the CIHA agrees; in a letter to trainers it says: ‘The purpose of the allowance was to compensate for riders not being able to access saunas, but it has become clear that the use of saunas as a practice for riders losing weight … should have no place in racing’s future. The CIHA will therefore make the temporary 3lb allowance permanent.’
Since the introduction of compulsory back protectors, riders have been allowed 3lb over the published weight to compensate for the protector.
Under the revised CI rule riders will have a 6lb allowance on weighing out – 3lb for the safety vest and an additional 3lb for jockeys’ health and welfare. As the rule will apply universally it conveys no advantage.
In another move, the CIHA has taken steps designed to help safeguard horses when their racing days are over.
In future, all horses entered to run in a race in the Channel Islands will be banned from entering the human or animal food chain.
In some parts of Europe there has been a significant market in horse meat and there have long been concerns about the trade, including the inhumane way horses were transported to their demise.
All trainers will be required to sign a document confirming their horses cannot be sent to abattoirs in exchange for money to be slaughtered for food.
The declaration will be entered on each horse’s passport, without which it will not be allowed to race.