British riders considering return proposal

Plans for the resumption of racing in Britain have met with a positive response from the Professional Jockeys Association, although it admits some participants could be in a for a frustrating time because of rider restrictions.

A communication from the Resumption of Racing Group sent to trainers via the British Horseracing Authority on Thursday outlined proposals for field restrictions of 12 runners per race and the use of only senior jockeys when the sport eventually gets the go-ahead to return.

Smaller fields are thought to reduce the risk of incidents and also help with social distancing under coronavirus protocols.

The BHA said analysis indicated “the more experienced riders are less likely to suffer injuries”, so only senior riders would be involved initially.

Dale Gibson of the PJA has assured those claiming riders affected the organisation will seek for the measure to be lifted as soon as it becomes possible, with support remaining in the interim.

“There is a shared common goal of achieving a safe resumption of racing in a controlled environment once we are permitted to do so and all parties are working hard to achieve that,” Gibson said.

“We will continue to liaise with the BHA on additional jockey specific issues, with the health and safety of all participants at the top of our agenda.

“We were pleased that there will only be a limited restriction on jockey bookings which is very good news for full jockeys, although of course we recognise that this is potentially frustrating for inexperienced claiming jockeys.

“We can assure them that any restrictions will only be temporary and we will we seek to have them lifted at the earliest opportunity, whilst offering ongoing support to those who need it through our recently confirmed Coronavirus Jockey Support package.”

The last meetings to take place in Britain were at Wetherby and Taunton on March 17, both behind closed doors.

Any resumption will be phased and on the Flat behind closed doors, with all plans being subject to government approval.

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