The racing industry in Australia has a number of draconian rules in place and they simply need to be changed. One of those rules is if a jockey weights in 500grams or more under their set weight, the horse is disqualified from the race and all bets are lost for any punters with money on that horse in the race.
A number of our friends were betting on Race 3 at Moruya (70km from Canberra on the coast) in NSW last Friday when Kayla Nisbet rode in a $12 winner called Rushtorio. She ended up weighing in light due to a blue towel that is used for packing under the saddle was found in the saddling stalls. Interestingly, the owner was fined $2000 and Nisbet $500. No suspensions were passed down, only fines. There are some situations where a jockey weighs in light and they do need to be suspended, this was not the case. It is a hard situation for everyone involved, especially a 17 year old apprentice jockey who will suffer from this experience. I really feel for her.
The problem is with the system. There are a number of options available to change the rules and they need to be looked at. The most obvious is to simply declare the horse a non-runner. This makes the most sense when you think about it. There is no prize money awarded and punters don’t lose out.. it really is a win-win rule change.
The other option is to use the average statistics for weight to lengths and applying those figures to the weight below the 500g limit. This means if a horse bolts in by 4L over 1000m and the jockey weighs in light, you could have added 4kg and the horse would have still won.
Common sense needs to prevail. I certainly don’t have all the answers and I’m just one of the people with a glove in the ring who has been stung by a jockey weighing in light, but I would urge anyone reading this to send an email to their local state racing branch asking for them to review the rules around jockey’s weighing in light.