The Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) claims jockeys could be affected financially if racing is shutdown for longer than a week. Horse racing meetings in Britain were called off until at least Wednesday following an outbreak of equine flu which was initially found at the yard of trainer Donald McCain.
The shutdown started on Thursday and is expected to last six days, although the situation could change should any new cases emerge following the British Horseracing Authority’s testing of thousands of horses across the country.
There were no fresh cases reported on Saturday so it is hoped that racing will resume in midweek, although the PJA claims jockeys could be hurt in the pocket if the shutdown is extended.
Chief executive Paul Struthers said: “Some jockeys will take this opportunity for a bit of a break – it is the time of year anyway some might be able to get away, particularly those on the Flat. “As we know, we’re going to be missing six days at least, and we’ll know more on Monday when more results are known, but for some jockeys the inability to earn any money will very quickly start becoming an issue. “Some jockeys will be immune to it, but that will be a very small number. The majority will be vulnerable.”
He added: “Apprentices and conditionals, while they will lose their riding fees, they should at least be getting a wage. “But there will be a decent number of members that if the shutdown goes on for more than a week or two financial difficulties might not be far over the horizon. “What I must stress is that everyone is 100 per cent behind the BHA in this. No one has criticised how they have handled this – that is the first thing to say.”