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Vic Jockeys Support Weight Scale Rises

Monday, 14th February 2011

Two-thirds of Victorian jockeys "want the weight scale changed" reported The Herald-Sun. "That's the overwhelming response to a review instigated by Racing Victoria, which at its board meeting next month will consider lifting the minimum weight for races." Jockeys "are finding it tougher to ride at 53kg, the minimum weight for most Victorian races". RV strategy manager Paul Bittar said the review was "driven by data that highlighted the increase in the size of people". Bittar noted research in New Zealand (which recently lifted the minimum weight from 53kg to 54kg), Britain & the US highlighted the problems jockeys faced, adding: "Over the past 10 years there has been a 5% increase in the weight of the population, which equates to about 2.5kg for a rider. There's no doubt it is an international issue." RV conducted the review in consultation with the Victorian Jockeys' Association (which has 170 members, of whom about 100 are full-time professionals). VJA chief executive Des O'Keeffe commented: "It's clear to me that one-third of the riders are completely happy with the weight scale as it is & the balance would like it to be reviewed. But we have to be very careful that we are not getting offside with any of our members." O'Keeffe said it appeared clear there would be "a higher minimum weight in Victoria, maybe as early as the start of next season in August". Tasmania raised its minimum weight from 53kg to 54kg in October, as did NSW for its country racing in November.

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