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Jockeys "Bewildered" By Stewards' Stance On Weight Rise
Jockeys "are bewildered that a national stewards' conference deferred support for a rise to the weight scale" reported The Herald-Sun. Victorian Jockeys Association chief executive Des O'Keeffe said he hoped the opinion of stewards "who had no expertise & jurisdiction in the matter" would carry no significance with Racing Victoria, which initiated a review of the minimum weight scale (including an online survey of jockeys) some months ago. However last week's national stewards' conference "concluded more information & research was required before a decision could be made" & RV chief steward Terry Bailey said there was "no strong evidence that all jockeys wanted an increase to the weights". But O'Keeffe insisted the results of the survey "were unambiguous: 2/3 of jockeys wanted the minimum weights to rise" & said research had "already been undertaken & a call for further information was delaying the obvious". O'Keeffe emphasised: "It's clear the population is bigger than it once was & it's pretty clear when you analyse the survey response in detail that the majority of riders feel the need for an increase. . . . . If we want to keep jockeys in the industry & attract others to it, then changes have to be made." The newspaper commented: "RV had hoped to gain national traction for rising the weight scale, but that's highly unlikely given the ambivalence of the stewards conference." But O'Keeffe said he hoped RV "would stick to its initial view that, even if there was not national support, the weights would rise by 1kg from the start of the 2011-12 season".