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UK Light-Weights Voice Concern At Minimum Rise
In the UK, several leading light-weight jockeys "voiced their concern about the negative effect any further increase in minimum riding weights would have on their careers," reported racingpost.co.uk. Champion jockey Jamie Spencer has joined Frankie Dettori in "hitting out at the Jockeys' Association's reluctance to campaign for minimum weights in Britain to be raised to the 8st 4lb level they now stand at in Ireland". However champion apprentice Hayley Turner retorted that she fears another rise will "further erode the already dwindling opportunities available to natural light-weights" & noted: "Something like 85% of races are 8st 4lb+ now, so there is no need to change it. Also, I don't think it is good for flat horses to be carrying big weights on fast ground. If you want to be a jockey you need to be small, in the same way that you need to be tall if you are going to become a basketball player. I think it is good for the industry that I did so well last year & off the back of that, girls like Kirsty Milczarek & Donna Caldwell are getting plenty of chances now; but it is hard enough for them as it is, without restricting their chances even further." Chris Catlin added: "If the weights were to move up, it would definitely limit opportunities for us." And Adrian Nicholls commented: "I don't think there is a problem with the way they are at the minute. Most of my outside rides are light-weights, so obviously I'd be at a disadvantage if they go up." And UK Jockeys' Association chief executive John Blake reiterated the number of races in which jockeys are now required to get down to the minimum 7st 12lb is becoming smaller: "The irony of all of this is that the start of the flat season signified the start of a weights rise which means only 13% of races now require less than 8st 4lb to be carried."