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Point-to-point riders who are dazed in a fall will be required to attend a testing centre to assess their reaction speed, before being allowed returning to racing from January. This brings the sport in line with National Hunt racing and eventing.

Riders who are familiar with the tests, list time and expense as the biggest drawbacks. West Country champion Richard Woolacott said: “The tests take about 11/2hr, but I had to travel from my home in Devon to a centre in Swindon, which meant a day off work. I know of one rider who had to go three times before he was passed fit to ride.”

By contrast, former national champion Leslie Jefford said testing was a good thing, ensuring riders were fit to compete, and adding that more testing centres were needed. Currently there are eight testing centres around the country.

Previously, concussion cases were signed off for a set period — of between 48hr and 21 days — then cleared to ride by a course doctor.

Dr Michael Turner, the Jockey Club’s chief medical adviser said the old-fashioned way was simply untenable, now that sophisticated equipment was in place to test concussion more accurately.

  • Read the full story in today’s Horse & Hound (10 November, ’05)


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