British jockeys have been urged not to take strike action as the row over new whip rules continues.
The Professional Jockeys Association has issued a statement calling on riders not to take strike action following a mixed response to Friday’s amendments to the new regulations which were introduced by the British Horseracing Authority on October 10.
Among the changes agreed to is the removal of the five-hit rule inside the final furlong (200m) or after the last obstacle in jumps racing.
Jockeys have struggled to come to terms with the guidelines since their introduction which allow no more than seven hits in a Flat race and eight over jumps, with only five of those originally permitted inside the final furlong or after the last fence or hurdle.
Riders will now not lose their riding fee if suspended for a whip offence.
They will also only lose their percentage of prize money if their offence earns a ban of seven days or more rather than the three days the rules originally stated.
However, concern and growing disquiet remains in the weighing room over the severity of penalties for minor breaches of the rules, sparking continued speculation of strike action.
A statement from the PJA said “the board of directors of the Professional Jockeys Association tonight called on jockeys to carry on riding as normal despite concerns about the new whip rules.
“Leading jockeys, including Frankie Dettori, AP McCoy and Andrew Thornton, will be sending a strong message to their colleagues at fixtures on Saturday and Sunday that any form of protest involving not riding would be counterproductive.”
PJA chief executive Kevin Darley said the association would continue to work with the BHA.
“We are not happy with aspects of those rules, but we will work with the British Horseracing Authority on the issues that concern us.
“There are still serious concerns about the level of penalties for minor infringements of the rules”
However leading rider Jamie Spencer was critical of the PJA, saying the riders needed to take a stronger position.
“I think history is repeating itself like on every other issue, we’re weak with no strength behind us and everybody waves the flag too easy. I’m disappointed with a lot of the guys that have taken it all lying down,” he told At The Races.
“French jockeys stick together, the Australians stuck together over the whip and this is why we’re probably racing for peanuts every day of the week. We never put a fight up for anything, we take everything lying down. I’m just disappointed with everybody.”
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