There is a real problematic matter with the health of our jockeys if the weight restrictions stay as they are there could be a serious issue for the future of the sport and it’s only a matter of time before somebody takes it too far wasting and goes beyond redemption.
The clear majority of jockey’s whom we have spoken with want the weights raised as they see it’s a real brawl day and daily meeting the strict weights. It’s only the smaller build riders – around 7st 8lb – who want the current situation to stay the same, because they will not be in such demand if it changes, which Is understandable from the point of view but not from the bigger picture.
The situation is related to bulimia and alcohol abuse, and it has been a problem for a long time in the weighing room. Some people drink serious amount of alcohol the night before a meeting to make their dehydration more severe, which then helps them make the weight. It’s common but not exposed as the old saying goes “desperate people do desperate things”. Others make themselves sick it’s almost accepted in the modern-day game which is seriously. Worrying however HRI are doing all they can but there still is always room for more improvement they cannot rest on their laurels when lives are at stake.
It is a immensely worrying that when jockeys retire they will take these health problems with them and they will have to live with the damage forever which many former riders are living with now and not speaking up.
There is no doubt some high-profile riders really suffer during a race. You look across at the start and they look like shadows of them self – you could blow them over they are clearly not in the right shape mentality or physical to put them self on the line in the race or races throughout the day.
The hefty argument that surrounds the media is modern jockeys are not as disciplined as those of the past is nonsense. You could take any 10 jockeys and they would all be dedicated and professional. As for the dangers to horses from heavier jockeys, that is rubbish too. Even young horses ride out every morning with big stable lads and heavy tack, sometimes more than 12st.
I’m not suggesting anything drastic, just a change of a few pounds that would make sense and help protect jockeys in the future in this sport that is so demanding and they need to be at their best constantly and be fully aware of the dangers that surround them.