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Turf Club announce changes to Riding Weights Rules

The Turf Club has announced two changes which will impact on weights carried by riders.  These relate to the setting of a minimum riding weight for all apprentices and changes to the overweight rules.

1. Minimum Riding Weight for Apprentices As and from 15th August 2013, an apprentice jockey riding in Ireland will not be permitted to ride in any race until a minimum riding weight has been set for that apprentice by the Turf Club Medical Officer.  The minimum riding weight is the lowest riding weight at which an individual rider may ride in any race.  Claiming apprentices will not be allowed to ride below their minimum riding weight regardless of any allowance they are entitled to claim.

Individual minimum riding weights will be reviewed and fixed before 1st May each year or earlier at the discretion of the Medical Officer.  Apprentices may make an application at monthly intervals during the term of their licence to the Medical Officer in order to review their minimum riding weight. 

The list of minimum riding weights which apply from 15th August 2013 and a copy of the procedures for setting minimum riding weights are attached.

2. Overweights With effect from 21st August 2013, any rider who expects to carry overweight of 2lbs is required to declare such overweight to Horse Racing Ireland by the time of closing for nomination of riders.  The responsibility for the declaration rests with both the trainer and rider.  It will not be mandatory for riders to carry all or any of the declared overweight, if the rider can weigh out with less than that declared or at the proper weight.

Any rider who weighs out overweight of 2lbs or more where such overweight has not been declared will be penalised and will have to first obtain permission of the Stewards before being allowed to ride.

Riders will only be allowed carry 3lbs or more overweight in very exceptional circumstances and there is no requirement to declare possible overweight of 1lb in advance.

An announcement will be made before each race, as at present, confirming the actual amount of overweight, where applicable, that each rider will carry in a race.  In addition full details of all overweight carried (including weighing in overweight) will be available from the Clerks of the Scales after each race.

Commenting on the changes, Turf Club Chief Executive, Denis Egan, said that the introduction of a minimum riding weight for apprentices was approved by the Stewards of the Turf Club following on from the results of ongoing research work carried out at Dublin City University by Dr. Giles Warrington, Dr. Adrian McGoldrick and the team. 

The main purpose of setting the minimum riding weight is to prohibit apprentices from riding at low weights, which necessitates weight loss practices that could be detrimental to their health in the long term.”

He said the new procedures also includes the close involvement of the Turf Club dietitian with each apprentice, which will ensure healthier eating habits.

In relation to the declaration of overweight, Denis Egan said that the main purpose of the rule is to flag up possible overweight of 2lbs that a rider might carry in advance.  Heretofore any overweight being carried is only announced after the rider weighs out which is generally 15 minutes before a race and is too late for the information to be disseminated.  The requirement to declare possible overweight in advance will alert everyone that the carrying of 2lbs overweight may occur.

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