The one-meeting per day protocol for jockeys will continue through 2022, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) confirmed on Wednesday.
Initially introduced as part of measures designed to ensure racing's safe return behind closed doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the protocol has been extended after consultation with jockeys and other stakeholders. The move was approved by the BHA board and applies to jockeys under both codes to ride at only one meeting per day.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said, “Jockeys played a key role in ensuring racing's return in 2020 was a success, adapting to a new way of working in unusual circumstances while still producing at the highest level on the track.
“It is our job to do everything we can to ensure the welfare of our jockeys and it has become clear over the last year that the overwhelming majority of jockeys appreciate no longer competing at multiple meetings per day, and having to contend with the physical and mental pressures this placed upon them.”
Dale Gibson, Executive Director (Racing) of the PJA, said, “Horseracing is incredibly demanding on trainers, jockeys and racing staff, particularly given the size of the fixture list. When you factor in early morning work, extensive mileage, financial uncertainty and the significant physical and mental challenges of being a jockey, it's arguably the most challenging of professional sports for an athlete.
“The PJA conducted a comprehensive jockey welfare survey earlier this year, with almost half the membership responding. The one meeting a day rule was one area we asked members about. The clear message, particularly from Flat jockeys, was that there had been significant benefits to Jockeys from the rule, which for most outweighed any negatives and that the majority, including 72% of Flat jockeys, wanted the rule to remain.
“Based on the survey results, the PJA board had no hesitation in asking the BHA to take this step, and I am sure that the vast majority of the membership will be pleased that it remains in place throughout 2022.”
PJA Joint President PJ McDonald added, “I am very pleased that the one meeting protocol has been extended, and believe strongly that it will benefit the long-term physical and mental health of riders competing today and in the future. This will allow us to achieve a better work-life balance, which is so important whatever your profession.”