According to Professional Jockeys Association chief executive Paul Struthers, jockeys in Britain are going to have a very different way of life when racing returns, in what looks like June.
With Racing still suspended across the United Kingdom and Ireland, jockeys are chomping at the bit to get back up and running again and the picture has become slightly clearer after Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out plans for sporting events to return from the start of June.
When racing returns it is believed that field sizes will be restricted to 12 runners on the flat with other permutations set to be outlined in the coming weeks.
(Credit RacingTV) Speaking on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme, Struthers said: “For jockeys it will look very, very different in the changing-room area. Social distancing is hugely important, and one of the things that’s really vital is that sport reflects the UK Government’s wider advice to the public and doesn’t feel like it’s a special case.
“We also need to risk-assess all the activities to make sure they are safe, but there may be occasions where the way sport behaves – not just racing – is slightly different to how the public need to behave. If that is the case we need to be able to very confidently – and with evidence – support why it is different, so actually what will happen is going racing is safer than going to the supermarket, because of the screening and the testing and the measures that will be in place on the racecourse to protect everyone that is serving the fixtures.
“For jockeys saunas will be out of use and we know showers will be out of use, which will cause unpleasantness, obviously the shower element, but even a cold shower creates an aerosol. There will be other elements that we don’t know for sure yet – will racecourses be able to provide a nutrition offering to jockeys, or will jockeys need to bring their own provisions to the racecourse? We don’t know.
“Legging up horses in the parade ring – the likelihood is there will be one or two individuals tasked with that job rather than being legged up by the trainer or trainer’s employee. It will be very different for them, and the view we are hearing is some of these things will be difficult but if that is what it takes to get us back racing, that is what it takes and we’ll make do.”