A number of top jockeys are taking legal advice over the Jockey Club’s proposed ban of the use of their mobile phones on the racecourse.
This restriction is one of several measures to be introduced to beat corruption in racing and to discourage criminals from infiltrating the sport.
At the heart of the deterrents unveiled recently by the Jockey Club’s integrity review committee are:
- A clampdown on the security of the weighing-room area
- Restrictions on the use of mobile phones by jockeys
- Increased camera surveillance of racecourse stables
- A ban on trainers laying horses on the betting exchanges
Jockeys wasted no time in crying “foul” at the news that they will not be able to use their mobiles. Philip Robinson has resigned from the Jockeys’ Association over the issue.
Philip claims he has the support of about 20 colleagues, including champion Kieren Fallon, Pat Eddery and Richard Hughes. He says they would support him if the matter came to court action.
“We have a human rights barrister looking into the matter right now,” said Philip. “It definitely affects our liberties and, for one thing, it will affect our trade.
“On any given day my manager might speak to me five or six times. If your manager can’t make contact, you might lose future rides. Travel arrangements can change at short notice. A ban would make it very difficult.”
Michael Caulfield, chief executive of the Jockeys’ Association, has advised his members not to fight the ban while discussions on how the mobile phone restrictions will operate are taking place.
“We should not resist the restriction but insist that a system is put in place that will allow jockeys to have contact with agents,” said Michael.