Jockey strike threat averted
The threat of a strike by jockeys at fixtures on Monday over new whip regulations has been been averted after the British Horseracing Authority and Professional Jockeys Association agreed to a meeting that day.
Racing's authorities moved to calm the situation after jockey protests threatened to boil over into strike action. The BHA has called representatives of the riders to a board meeting to discuss their grievances in the wake of Richard Hughes's decision to quit after being hit with two bans.
Earlier, the PJA submitted proposals that included revisions to the range of penalties for infringements as well as some further clarifications of the rules themselves.
A statement from the PJA on Friday night said it welcomed the invitation to attend the BHA meeting, and that the association will take the opportunity to develop the points that it raised in written proposals and recommendations submitted to the BHA earlier in the day concerning the new whip rules.
PJA chief executive Kevin Darley said: "We are pleased that the BHA board will meet the representatives of jockeys so that together we can resolve the current issues concerning the whip rules. It is imperative for the sport that these matters are settled as soon as possible."
The PJA added that it recommended that those jockeys who were independently considering not participating in races at Monday's racing fixtures should now take their planned rides as originally scheduled.
A statement from the BHA read: "The British Horseracing Authority yesterday confirmed that it was listening to jockeys' concerns about the new whip rules and that it had asked for and would consider any formal submission the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) chose to make on this subject.
"We have this afternoon received a short submission from the PJA. The BHA has today invited the PJA to attend a planned Board meeting of the Authority on Monday so that they can elaborate further on the submission they have made before further detailed consideration by the BHA's Review Group. The PJA has accepted this invitation.
"This dialogue will build on constructive talks we held with the PJA on Tuesday. Throughout the process of amending the rules on use of the whip and associated penalties the BHA has worked closely with representatives of the PJA and we are encouraged that they recognise our commitment to thorough consultation.
"We will not be suspending the current rules pending these discussions, but we do commit to resolving this matter as quickly as possible while ensuring that due process is followed."