April 12, 2006 at 22:07 #2638LingfieldMember
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Frankie Dettori, the flat jockey with the highest public profile, has spoken out against what he perceives to be the Jockey’s Association’s lack of action in getting the minimum weights raised.<br>He cites concern over dehydration and bone density problems as found in a recent Irish study and reckons that very few of his peers exist on a proper diet of 3 meals a day.<br>He has threatened to quit the association but been told not to be hasty by John Blake.<br>Clearly the human race is getting bigger and minimum weights have crept up but not fast enough for Dettori’s liking. Riders like himself, Hughes and Murtagh face a permanent strugggle.<br>Does he have a valid case or is it a few selfish rich senior riders making a fuss?<br>Most light weights these days seem to be carried by apprentices. I remember the old days of specialist lightweights like Taffy Thomas.I guess the most recent was Gary Bardwell who was forced out of business a year or so ago.<br>Thoughts?April 13, 2006 at 08:01 #71305davidbradyMember
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In today’s cynical world, it is easy to accuse the top jockeys of trying to keep the younger generation down but I would be prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt here.
Johnny Murtagh’s weight problems are well documented while McCoy’s book paints a grim picture of his battles with weight – he says some mornings he stands outside his bathroom door crying because he knows what lies in wait for him inside.
Fair play to Frankie for using his high profile to highlight this issue.April 13, 2006 at 08:57 #71306LingfieldMember
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Dettori wants the minimum weight raised to 8-4 as in Ireland and Australia. He states that a number of his colleagues have eating disorders including bulimia type conditions where they deliberately throw up food just consumed.<br>George Baker was on Radio 5 this morning stating that he walks around at 8-12 before boiling himself down for his working day.<br>Of those lightweight specialists still in business I forgot Jimmy Quinn and Dale Gibson. Female riders also tend to be lighter but seem to struggle for opportunities.<br>Willie Carson reckons keeping weight under control is part of a jockey’s routine and they should get on with it but he seemed to naturally make under 8 stone fairly comfortably in his day.April 13, 2006 at 12:51 #71308MeshaheerMember
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I guess it depends on the person – some jockeys can no doubt eat what they like and manage, but others like McCoy will face a life of near-starvation and unhealthy methods of weight loss just do get down to a certain weight.
However I think the amount of young jockeys that can naturally do 8st are thin on the ground and having the minimum weight this low is probably placing unfair demands on some riders.
It’s OK to "get on" with the demands of your job but if it compromises health then questions should be asked.
Raising the minimum weight might not benefit the natural lightweights, especially the apprentices, but there don’t seem to be as many around these days, and raising the minimum weight might just take the pressure off the jocks to sweat down to unreasonably low weights.
I’m only 5 foot 6 but to get down to 8st I’d have to stop eating completely! :oApril 13, 2006 at 14:13 #71309apracingParticipant
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<br>Three flat meetings yesterday with plenty of runners and there wasn’t a single one set to carry less than 8st 4lbs.
Apart from mixed age handicaps in which 3-y-olds get a big weight allowance from older horses, there are very few occasions when any race produces a lower weight in the current program – and that could be resolved in most cases by raising the top weight for the older horses.
The 24lb range from 8-4 to 10-0 should be sufficient.
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