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Jockeys 'losing confidence' in weighing scales.

Byline: By Andrew Scutts

JOCKEYS have accused the Horseracing Regulatory Authority of not taking their anxiety about changing-room and weighing-room scales discrepancies seriously.

Old-fashioned weighing-room scales are being phased out on British tracks and replaced by electronic versions as the job of the clerk of the scales becomes more computer-based.

However, jockeys have claimed that weight discrepancies between sets of scales on the racecourse are presenting a serious problem that has dragged on unnecessarily.

Elaborating on his members' concerns that he relayed to the Racing Post at Wolverhampton on Monday, Jockeys' Association chief executive John Blake said yesterday: "The Flat jockeys are losing confidence in the system, as it's not working.

"There are three major issues. First, electronic weighing-room scales aren't consistently rounding down to the nearest pound. Second, there's a lack of uniformity across the country. Third, the readouts between changing-room scales and weighing-room scales aren't always the same.

"Wolverhampton on Monday was a classic example - the difference between the reading in the changing room and the weighing room was the first thing the jockeys discussed.

"Franny Norton, for example, weighed 8st21/2lb according to the changing-room scales but, when he walked ten yards to the weighing-room scales, his weight was given as 8st 3lb exactly. It should have been rounded down, but wasn't.

"We persuaded the clerk of the scales to test the disparity himself, and he saw the problem - although it's not clerks' fault that the system isn't working.

"For any jockey on the cusp of a certain weight, you can see why this is a problem. The riders don't know where they are, and they're not convinced their concerns are being addressed by the HRA."

Blake added: "We need complete reliability and synchronicity between the scales. This isn't scare-mongering, and there are more important issues, but when you have two sets showing different weights, can trainers, owners and punters have complete confidence a horse is carrying the correct weight?

"We need changing-room scales that all read weights to all decimal points, and weighing-room scales that all round down, not up."

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Jockeys say new electronic scales are prone to inconsistencies
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 13, 2006
Words:355
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