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Horse Racing: Mann claims mandatory ruling on body protectors is 'unrealistic'.

Byline: By Rodney Masters

ON THE day wearing of body protectors became compulsory for all stable employees riding out from racing yards, trainer Charlie Mann hit out at the "namby pamby" attitude of the Horseracing Regulatory Authority for introducing the rule.

"It's typical of modern-day society, and totally unrealistic," said the Lambourn trainer. He questioned the effectiveness of the protectors, which were originally designed for jockeys.

"I think I'm better qualified than most to speak about this subject because I broke most of my bones as a jockey," added Mann. "The fact is that body protectors are a tremendous asset to jockeys who take a fall and then are at risk of getting kicked by following runners, but I'm very much against them for everyday riding out because similar circumstances don't apply.

"I feel sorry for stable staff, who will have to wear them for four or five hours every day. The protectors make you sweat and there's a danger riders will become dehydrated."

An experienced female groom aged 41, who works for a well-known jumps trainer in the Midlands, did contact the Racing Post after first lot yesterday morning, angry that she had been forced to wear the protector.

The groom, who asked for her name to be withheld, suggested it should be a matter of choice.

"I've ridden out for 25 years, and, believe me, these protectors will serve no useful purpose," she said. "In fact, I think they'll be detrimental to riders because we'll become seriously dehydrated every morning."

Trainers are required to purchase protectors, which cost between pounds 80 and pounds 130, on behalf of their workforce, and face a fine of pounds 2,000 by the HRA if flouting the rule.

However, Malcolm Wallace, the HRA's director of regulation, said yesterday that due to a shortage of protectors a fine will not be imposed in the immediate future if a trainer can prove that they had the equipment on order.

Wallace added that protectors, which will soon become generally known worldwide as safety vests, would also need to be worn by those clipping and longreining horses.

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Charlie Mann: hit out at HRA over new body protectors rule
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2007
Words:364
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