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Turf Club approves 4 lb rise in Minimum Flat Racing Weight

Turf Club approves 4 lb rise in Minimum Flat Racing Weight

The Stewards of the Governing Bodies have approved a 4 lb rise in the minimum flat racing weight with effect from the start of the 2006 flat racing season.  The minimum weight on the flat will now be 8 stone 4lbs.

The decision was taken on health and safety grounds following the publication of the results of the Body Weights Study, which was recently completed by Dr. Giles Warrington and his team at the National Coaching and Training Centre, Limerick University.  The Stewards also considered written submissions from the Irish Jockeys Association, Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, RACE and the Racecourse Medical Officers Association.

The Stewards have also made a number of other recommendations in conjunction with the raising of the minimum weights as follows:

1.    The minimum weight in conditions races should not be lower than 8 stone 11 lbs with certain specified exceptions where the weight should not be lower than 8 stone 7 lbs.

2.    The Programmes Committee of HRI will be asked to review the weight structure in maidens and conditions races.

3.    A mandatory continuing education programme should be put in place at RACE for all apprentice jockeys, conditional jockeys and jockeys to provide professional support and ongoing advisory services.  This programme should cover such issues as healthy eating, balanced diets and other lifestyle issues.

4.    A professional dietician should be made available to jockeys.

5.    More appropriate food should be available for jockeys in racecourse canteens.

It was also agreed that there will be no increase in the minimum weight in National Hunt Racing.

Commenting on the weight rise the Turf Club Senior Steward, Pierce Molony, said that “it was very important to act on the results of the Body Weights Study as our primary concern at all times is the health and welfare of the jockeys.  We are confident that the increase, together with the education programme which will be put in place, will greatly assist this.”

Editors Note:

1.    The Body Weights Study was carried out at the National Coaching and Training Centre, Limerick University by Dr. Giles Warrington, Dr. Adrian McGoldrick and Michael Griffin at the request of the Stewards of the Governing Bodies.

2.    The completion of the Study was one of the recommendations contained in the Safety Review Group Report which was published in June 2004.

3.    The primary purpose of the Study was to:-
a)    Evaluate the physiological/medical effects of continuous wasting.
b)    Provide a scientific basis for the establishment of appropriate body weight standards.
c)    Evaluate the lifestyle and nutritional practices of the study participants, and
d)    Assess a number of other health parameters.

4.    27 riders took part in the study, of which 17 were flat and 10 National Hunt.

5.    The study findings identified that there were serious problems to be addressed with regard to rider’s health, in particular dehydration, bone density, body fat and nutrition.

6.    The results of the study have been presented internationally at conferences in Seoul, Paris and London.

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