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Racing industry participants in Victoria are calling for an earlier finish to night meetings

Racing industry participants in Victoria are calling for an earlier finish to night meetings with jockeys citing fatigue from too much racing.

The racing calendar has expanded in the state in recent years to include twilight meetings during summer along with two night meetings a week.

Jockeys say they are finding it hard with trainers and their staff are also working longer hours.

Caulfield trainer John Moloney says he almost need two sets of staff in his stable.

“If I give them a night meeting, they’re tired the next day and almost need the day off,” Moloney said.

“My foreman can back up, I can back up, but my staff do not back up when they are out doing this type of work.

“You nearly need two sets of staff, one that’s doing the race meeting and one that’s doing your work at the stable because you need to give them time off to get over their night at the races.”

Eight-time premiership winning jockey Craig Williams has endorsed the comments of fellow senior riders Dwayne Dunn and Damien Oliver on the toll expanded night and twilight racing is having, leading to fatigue in jockey ranks.

Williams was part of the city team in a jockey challenge at Flemington on Sunday, a new meeting held after night racing on Thursday and Friday and Group One racing on Saturday.

Melbourne’s premier rider said the fatigue was not confined to riders but was industry-wide and included trainers, strappers, vets, farriers and barrier attendants.

“There is no doubt a sub-committee would be great to get everyone together and work out what is the best plan going forward with the way the demographics of Victorian racing are changing or have changed to,” Williams said.

“I support the comments made by those that have spoken and Matthew Hyland represents the jockeys, but I don’t think it’s all about the jockeys, it’s something the industry needs to look at.”

Premier Sydney jockey James McDonald said he was lucky he did not have the same hectic schedule as his Victorian counterparts.

“Their workload is quite hectic, travelling far and wide for races with the meetings scattered out all over Victoria,” McDonald told RSN 927.

“I’m not speaking for provincial jockeys, but we’ve only got the five tracks in the city and the furthest we go is Wyong which is an hour-and-a-half away, once a fortnight.

“We only race night meetings once a fortnight and I even find that hard backing up on a Saturday.

“For them to do it Thursday, Friday, Saturday, it is tough on them and I can see where they’re coming from.”

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