The Jockey Club is planning to take steps to halt the decline in the number of jump jockeys riding in Britain. Just 82 riders held senior professional licences in Britain last year, compared with 140 in 1993.
Following concerns expressed by trainers, a series of proposals aimed at helping conditional (apprentice) jockeys establish their careers have been made.
The age limit of 26, beyond which jockeys are not able to claim an allowance based on winners, should be scrapped, and conditionals riding for their own stable should claiman extra 3lb allowance until they have ridden five winners.
The scale of allowances for conditionals and some amateurs should be extended, and conditionals be allowed to hold professional licences for a longer period and remain eligible to ride as amateurs.
Jockey Club director of regulation Malcolm Wallace is also to ask the British Horseracing Board to consider putting on more races for conditionals, particularly over fences.
The proposals will be referred to the regulatory board this month, and, in consultation with the riders, the Jockey Club aims to nominate a date for the changes to come into force.
Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse says: “With the emergence of year-round racing, there are fewer opportunities to pursue another career while riding in races, so the pool of prospective jockeys has inevitably shrunk.
“However, it would be wrong to do nothing to try to arrest the decline in numbers, and we want to ensure that young riders get every chance to develop their career in racing.”
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