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A few for today, the trials and triumphs and trying to make it pay as a jockey

Frankie DettoriAnother week passes and the horse racing panto season continues in full swing!

For some 2013 is already a year to forget. The “boy’s in blue”, having had a wonderful weekend with Farhh winning the Lockinge in great style, were then brought back down to earth with a bang as it was revealed that more horse’s had tested positive for anabolic steroids, including the St Leger winner Enke.

Then the former Godolphin number one jockey Frankie Dettori is hit with the news that his comeback is on hold as the French authorities await a B sample result, before they can say oui, or non, to the Italian making his much awaited return in the saddle.

The BHA also announced that they were giving a ten year ban to Eddie Ahern following their investigation into corruption involving Eddie and the former footballer/racehorse owner Neil Clement. Whilst I won’t be going into this any further I noted (and responded), to some tweets on Twitter this week. I saw people making out that an average jockey shouldn’t have to stop horses, as they make enough money already.

I’ve said this quite a few times before. The sport is on it’s backside, even the rise in prize money still put’s race values lower than it was 20 odd year’s ago. While the Group races increase and will be higher than back then, the lower grade handicap and plating races are lower now than back then. If your lucky enough to own a Group performer, or get to ride in Group races regularly, then great. But if you make your living, or should I say try to make a living at the lower end of the scale, then it is getting increasingly difficult.

Below is a press release from the PJA last December, which announced a 2.8% rise in fee’s.

THE Racehorse Owners Association and Professional Jockeys Association have reached agreement on a 2.8% riding fee increase for 2013.

This will mean the fee for the Flat will be £115.52 (2012: £112.37) and the fee for the jumps will be £157.72 (2012: £153.42) from 1 January.

ROA Chief Executive Richard Wayman said:

“We are glad to have come to a fair and reasonable agreement with the PJA that riding fees will increase by 2.8% in 2013.

The ROA Council recognised the difficult financial situation faced by many jockeys, particularly given the continuing high motoring and fuel costs which make up a significant proportion of their expenses.

With prize-money expected to improve in 2013, the Council took the view that a rise in line with the cost of living would represent an equitable outcome for both parties in what remain very difficult economic times.”

Professional Jockeys Association Chief Executive Paul Struthers said:

“We are pleased to have worked with the ROA and agreed a riding fee increase that is slightly above general wage inflation.

This rise, combined with the forecast increases in prize money in 2013, will help ease the financial difficulties that many jockeys face as a result of ever increasing costs, reduced opportunities due to declining runners and average field sizes and, like everyone in racing, despite a forecast increase a comparatively poor return from prize-money.”

Owners also contribute 13% on top of the riding fee towards the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme.

Clare Hazell of the PJA has kindly provided me with the following information.

Deductions per ride are as follows:

PJA Subs

3.30% (£3.81)

(Not mandatory to be a member of PJA but most are)

Agent Fees

10% (£11.55) (on Average)

Valet Fees

£14 per ride. Plus £8 per winner

On-Course Physio 50p Per ride

Career Ending Insurance £1.10 Per ride

Total deduction’s = £30.96.

As you’re looking at jockey income vs costs, it’s worth noting that:

1. We looked into this about three years ago and found that a jockey travelling 100 miles for one ride on the flat will be lucky to clear £10.

2. Previous research demonstrated that on average around 90% of the riding fee is taken up by various expenses, and that for most jockeys the profit comes from prizemoney percentages (obviously it is different for jockeys consistently getting full or close to full books of rides).

3. Those percentage of prize money a Jockey earns works out at around 6.9% of the advertised prize money for the winner depending on the type of race and how many placings. So, if a race is worth £10k to the winner, a jockey would receive about £680. For placing’s, a jockey gets only about 3.5% of the advertised prize for the placing So, looking at a race worth £6300 in total, placed jockeys would receive as follows:

1st – £290.43 (7.1 % of total prize money for the winner)

2nd – £41.58 (3.4% of total prize money for the second)

3rd – £20.79 (3.4%)

4th – £10.71 (3.5%)

Total distributed to jockeys = £363.51 (5.8% of the total advertised prize money).

4. So it’s not the 10% that everyone thinks, and it’s interesting that the stable gets more than the jockey for placed horses.

5. Conditional and apprentice jockeys have an additional deduction from their riding fee under Rule D6, which pays for jockey training.

As you can see, there is a total deduction of £30.96 which leaves £84.56. From that, there is tax & national insurance to pay and the ever increasing fuel costs. Which as Clare Hazell point’s out mean’s that from their research a jockey travelling 100 miles to a racecourse is lucky to come out with £10 after all the deductions & fuel costs.

There are an increasing number of jockey’s going racing for just a solitary ride at the moment & you may ask, why do they do it? Well, the answer is they have to do it. If they don’t go, someone else will get on the horse & it’s a ride lost in the future. Kirsty has had a number of day’s where she has had just the one ride & as a result she has told her valet that she will sort her own gear out just to cut down on costs. She tells me that she is one of four jockey’s that have had to resort to that this week.

This week Kirsty has had rides on four day’s, all of which yielded just one ride a day. She travelled to Nottingham, Kempton & Haydock twice from her Lambourn base which took a total of fifteen hours & twenty minutes & was a total of 1070 miles. So for those four rides she will have paid out over £300 in diesel. It really doesn’t take a genius to work out that it is a struggle for many.

Anyway, moving on…there is some great racing to look forward to at the weekend. Big meetings at York, Chester, Goodwood and Haydock. A few I like the look of and they are as follows.

Godolphin got into the headlines for all the right reasons last week with Farhh winning so impressively and this week it looks to be the turn of SONGCRAFT to visit the winner’s enclosure in the 2.20 race at York. He won first time up last year and contested Group 3 races so this drop to Listed company will help.

Judge n juryIn the feature race on the Knavesmire, the Ron Harris trained JUDGE N JURY (left) looks to have strong claims at a track he loves. He was beaten a length last week by Ancient Cross but he is three pounds better off here and is sure to of come on for his seasonal debut.

Over the Pennines at Haydock, the PJ O’Gorman trained ALBAQAA has strong claims in the 2.10 race. When last winning in 2011, he did so off a mark of 87 and he is in here off 74 (69 if you take Rob Tart’s claim into account), so he is a very well handicapped horse. Conor Zur will be out to repeat his 2012 heroic’s with a pillar to post attempt and that will no doubt help the selection.

David Barron has his string in blinding form at the moment and he has strong claims of a winner at Haydock. NEWSTEAD ABBEY goes in the Silver Bowl at 3.15. Having been very frustrating as a juvenile, current connections have won three with him. Over six, seven and eight furlongs. He has been raised ten pounds but remains of interest.

IMPERIAL DJAY runs in the 5.30 at Haydock and while he looks out of form, he is one of my horses to follow at the minute and I am sure he will be winning soon. He is currently a 22-1 shot at the time of writing and I would hate to miss it if he was to win, as he well handicapped now. His stable mate AL MUHEER does look to be the one here having ran an eye catching race at Thirsk last week. He was brought all the way around the field and ran on strongly. Here he is partnered by Jason Hart who claims five pound off so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be on the premises

Have a great weekend and happy punting!

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