Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jockeys Stage Walkout over Phone Curbs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jockeys Stage Walkout over Phone Curbs

Article excerpt

Jockeys united to stage a walkout protest against new restrictions on mobile phones yesterday.

They left the weighing room en masse in between the first and second races at Leicester, and staged a similar protest at Hamilton.

The jockeys at Leicester, who included champion Kieren Fallon, walked arm in arm outside the racetrack to the side of the road, where they are not restricted in using their mobiles, before returning in time for the second race.

They took the action in response to new Jockey Club rules which state that from today no jockey with a ride can use a mobile anywhere on the racecourse from half an hour before the first race until the last has started.

The measures have been imposed as a result of security concerns following a high-profile court case in which it was revealed that mobile phones were used to pass on information.

Instead, jockeys can only use one of three phones provided by weighing room security officers.

Richard Hills, fresh from scoring on favourite Al Sifaat in Leicester's opener, said: "It's like being back at school, being told to stand in the corner to talk to owners and trainers.

"Sometimes we don't have time to talk to owners in the morning due to riding out, so now we're being told we can't talk to anybody at work. It is basically ridiculous. Let's hope after today's protest that we can sit down with the Jockey Club and sort this problem out."

Campaign leader Philip Robinson, who has set up a fighting fund and employed the services of solicitor Martin Cruddace, of Schillings, said: "I don't know why we are being treated like this. Do they think we are gangsters or just schoolkids?

"I think what they are doing is doing racing more harm than good." About 45 minutes before the first race Jockey Club weighing room security officer Robin Knott gave all the jockeys a pep talk about the new ruling. …

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