It’s not hard to understand why jockeys head overseas to continue their riding careers.
In Asian countries the hours are defined, often two race meetings a week, while trackwork and trials are completed before midday.
It makes for a work-life balance that jockeys in Victoria crave.
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The Victorian Jockeys’ Association is currently in discussions with Racing Victoria over an increase to riding fees.
VJA chief executive Matthew Hyland says there is an EBA before RV which is due for renewal on August 1.
He says there has been an increase to the workload of the 175 jockeys in Victoria since the last EBA with night meetings increasing three-fold from 16 in 2015.
Hyland says it’s not as simple as a jockey saying they can’t ride here, or can’t ride there, because as soon as they do another takes their place.
The days become taxing midweek with early starts and late finishes, trackwork and jump-outs from 4.30am, twilight and night meetings finishing around 10pm.
He said a jockey was paid $100 for riding at official trials but received nothing for jump-outs.
“Everyone gets paid except our member,” Hyland told AAP.
“The strapper gets paid his weekly wage by the trainer, the barrier attendants get paid by the club, the vet gets paid by the club and there’s a steward in attendance to make sure the event is run to the rules.
“It would be an administrative nightmare for Racing Victoria to pay our members for their work at the jump-outs, but what we’re saying is to pay it through an increase in the riding fee.
“That way if they get a race ride out of their work at the jump-outs they are getting renumerated for the work they’ve done prior to getting that ride.”
Hyland also pointed out race-free Mondays, trialled earlier this year, have been extended a month next season during daylight saving, meaning increased work for jockeys with two meetings run on Wednesdays in afternoon/twilight slots.
He said the VJA understood the benefits to the industry of twilight and night meetings run in an entertainment time-slot.
“But if you look at someone who works in the mines, he gets compensated for working at night,” Hyland said.
“The eight-race card taken off the calendar on a Monday has made no benefit to our members at all.
“It’s put pressure on the lower tier jockeys while also putting more pressure on a jockey’s lifestyle.”
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