A group of high-profile Victorian jockeys have been given the green light to start riding trackwork again at selected venues.
As part of the protocols in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, jockeys in Victoria have been split into two groups – a Green team and a Gold team.
Jockeys in the ‘Gold’ team have been allowed to continue riding trackwork and jump-outs along with race meetings but the group of 20 riders in the ‘Green’ team agreed to only ride on race days.
The jockeys in the respective groups have been separated in different rooms at race meetings.
Recently Racing Victoria relaxed the rules slightly to allow jockeys from the Green team to ride jump-outs at six selected Victorian tracks.
Those jockeys were given permission to commence riding trackwork at Caulfield and Sandown on Tuesday and from this Friday can ride trackwork at Flemington and Mornington.
From next Monday they will be allowed to ride trackwork at Cranbourne and Ballarat.
Included in those 20 jockeys are Craig Williams, Damien Oliver, Dwayne Dunn, Jye McNeil and Ben Melham who sit top five in this season’s Melbourne premiership.
Victorian Jockeys Association chief executive Matt Hyland welcomed the move.
“We’re trying to get them back to as normal a routine as possible,” Hyland said.
“They have sat out riding trackwork and done a fantastic job adhering to the protocols in place and there is no doubt in a competitive market that it has had an adverse effect on some of their opportunities.
“It’s just great that we’re able to get them back to somewhere near their full capacity.
“The whole jockey population got their heads around different work environments as they normally know it and have worked accordingly.
“They understood the importance of it which has allowed them to continue racing and working.”