Jockeys Get A Random Ticket To Ride

No more chasing for rides

The days of selective freelancing and power imbalances created by the top jockeys being associated with the top yards could be over after a proposal that the National Racing Bureau ballot jockey riding engagements just as randomly as they do the barrier draws.

At a meeting of the SA National Thoroughbred Association (SANTA) earlier this week, it was argued that an income and lifestyle imbalance had been created amongst jockeys and trainers who also enjoyed the support of the top owners, to further compound matters.

No more chasing for rides! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

“Why should the top yards be permitted to utilise the services of the Yeni’s, Hewitsons, Fouries, Kennedy’s and Cheynes of this world to strengthen their positions at the top of the log? It means that some jockeys never get a chance to ride the decent horses in work or in races – even the big ones like the Durban July. So the gap widens and the strong get stronger,” said a spokesman for SANTA, who added that the changes would be introduced on 1 April.

“There may be some logistical issues like weight limits, but the system will allocate the jockeys in the various parameters completely randomly. This takes an admin burden off trainers, who won’t have to explain to owners anymore why a perceived lesser jockey is riding their horse.”

The new ride allocation rule (8.1.4.u) aka the April Decree, will apply from maiden races through to Gr1’s, with effect from the racemeeting of the 9 April.

Three bottom of the rung jockeys spoken to by the Sporting Post said that they may even consider going back to the gym and starting to ride work again if they got lucky with the ride ballot.

“Probably not in winter, but certainly in summer I could probably start riding a bit of work again. And a Durban July ride would be nice – even without the crowds there. Christmas really has come early, thanks to SANTA.”

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