PJA admits 'work to do' on jockey weight rule changes

Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) interim chief executive Dale Gibson admits there is “work to do” after widespread anger from riders following the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) decision to increase minimum riding weights by 2lb.

This decision has drawn criticism from several leading flat jockeys, including Group One-winning rider Jason Watson who is ‘disgusted’ by the ruling.

Initially, weights were raised by 3lb following the resumption of racing after the first Covid lockdown but following extensive discussions, the consensus was a 2lb allowance should be permanent with saunas no longer in use on racecourses.

The BHA said the move followed consultation with cross-industry groups, including the PJA, but many of the PJA’s members, including Richard Kingscote and PJ McDonald – the organisation’s Flat safety officer – have said they were ‘kept in the dark’.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing on Thursday, Gibson said: “It’s been a quite extraordinary last couple of days. We were involved in consultation meetings in late summer and early autumn last year where it was always our position that the 3lb Covid allowance would continue. How long that was going to go for? I don’t know.

“It became evident that, because the riders were in a better place not using the saunas, the Covid allowance was essential.

“The Covid allowance has meant they haven’t had to sweat in the car, they’ve been in a lot better place mentally and physically and they’ve been able to utilise that 3lbs.

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Jockey Jason Watson has expressed his anger over the BHA’s decision to implement new minimum weights for jockeys of both codes, replacing the 3lb allowance that had been permitted when racecourse saunas closed

“Jockeys have utilised the 3lb allowance to maintain rides for certain trainers and it’s really key that riders keep riding for those same trainers.

“It’s going to be a struggle in the two months’ time for those same horses to be ridden by the rider of a trainer’s choice.

“It’s become a hot topic in the weighing room and we’re keen to progress that matter.

“I think there’s work to do. We’ve already been in conversation with the BHA and the NTF (National Trainers Federation) on this subject and we’re hoping to progress the outcome shortly.

“We want to keep working with them on this to get to a solution that suits everybody. We’re going to continue to work for the riders and let’s see where this goes.”

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BHA Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman told Sky Sports Racing that evidence suggests that acute dehydration as caused by racecourse saunas not only impacts on reaction times but also on strength

What is changing?

From Saturday, March 26 the minimum weight carried by Flat jockeys will be 8st 2lb while their jumping counterparts will ride from a minimum of 10st 2lb from Friday, April 29.

The 3lb Covid allowance will remain in place until the new revised weights structure is implemented.

A 3lb allowance for safety equipment, introduced following the requirement to wear a Level 2 body protector, will remain in place, as will a further 1lb allowance for all Flat jockeys during the winter months to account for an extra layer of warming clothing, a provision that has been in operation since 2013.

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Former rider Jason Weaver says the BHA’s decision to raise the minimum weight for both flat and jump jockeys can carry is a ‘move forward’ following the closure of racecourse saunas

What jockeys have said?

Jason Watson:

“I think the people that are making these decisions should come and live a day with us.

“We’re the ones living it and the people making the decisions are going home, having dinners every night and not doing the hours that we do and running out of hours to drop off the weight.

“I feel like we’ve been cheated out of something we agreed to do. People have been getting bigger and taller for decades now and we need to keep up with that.

“I’m disgusted really by what’s being said and totally against it.”

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Former jockeys Mick Fitzgerald and Seb Sanders had a lively debate after the BHA announced their decision on Tuesday

Sean Levey:

“It was a great step forward when Covid hit that they took away the saunas.

“The [Covid] allowance has helped everyone, from Adam Kirby all the way down to the apprentices who have their claims.

“This now seems like one step forward and two steps back.

“The saunas were an easy way to make weight but we were all in agreement we were happy to get rid of them because of the 3lb filled that void.

“They’ve now made it twice as difficult to do the weights we still have to do. We’re losing out more than we’re ever gaining.”

Richard Kingscote:

“Collectively, everyone is not very happy. We were given a questionnaire vote, which everyone responded to and said we’re happy to get rid of the saunas if we keep our allowance.

“The 2lb may help on a maiden but it’s not going to help in a handicap. We’re back to square one.

“People feel as though they are giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

“It’s frustrating that we were kept in the dark. No one heard anything about it until today. Hopefully, people can open it back out, talk and figure something out.”

The Hundred – full 2022 fixture list


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Watch Sky Sports

How to follow Deadline Day on Sky Sports

Time is running out for clubs to do business in the January transfer window. Here’s all you need to know about Deadline Day and how to follow the drama with Sky Sports.

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

On TV, online and on the go: You won’t miss a moment of the Deadline Day drama with Sky Sports.

Follow the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on the Sky Sports website and app – and make sure you bookmark our latest Done Deals page.

You’ll be able to keep track of all the developments on Sky Sports News, as well as get the best analysis and reaction from our studio guests and reporters at grounds across the country and in Europe.

Our Deadline Day programming starts at 7am and throughout the day on Sky Sports News, you will be able to hear from Paul Merson, Shay Given, Michael Dawson, Nigel De Jong and many more.

And, so that you don’t miss out on any of the news wherever you are, look out for live streaming of Sky Sports News on the Sky Sports News YouTube page at 7am, 1pm and 8pm on Monday.

When does the January transfer window close?

The 2022 January transfer closes for Premier League, EFL and Scottish Premiership clubs on Monday January 31.

The deadline is 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland.

What about in Europe?

Clubs across the continent must also complete their summer business on August 31.

The deadline is 5pm BST in Germany, 7pm in Italy, and 11pm in France and Spain.

Champ tops Cleeve Hurdle billing at Cheltenham

Champ headlines five contenders for Saturday’s Welsh Marches Stallions At Chapel Stud Cleeve Hurdle, one of the feature contests on Cheltenham’s Festival Trials day.

Nicky Henderson’s charge returned to action with Grade One glory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month and is among the leading players for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival in March, despite also holding a Cheltenham Gold Cup entry.

His trainer has indicated the 10-year-old is likely to follow the hurdles route and he can further underline his claims with victory in this Grade Two heat.

Paul Nicholls’ McFabulous is one of his chief rivals, along with former Stayers’ Hurdle winner Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar, with Dandy Mag completing the field.

On what could be an illuminating afternoon for Henderson, Chantry House goes for gold in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase after flopping in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

The eight-year-old was sent off favourite for the Christmas highlight but was never travelling with any fluency and was eventually pulled up by Nico de Boinville.

Five also go to post in this Grade Two, with Harriet Graham sending the admirable Aye Right, while Nicholls fields Simply The Betts. Former Henderson runner Santini and outsider Kauto Riko make up the party.

Latest Racing Stories

Henderson will assess Balco Coastal’s Festival credentials as he lines up in a competitive Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

A winner at Huntingdon, Balco Coastal faces a tough task in tackling Henry Daly’s Cheltenham Listed winner Hillcrest and A Different Kind, who is unbeaten in five starts for Donald McCain so far.

Nicholls’ Iceo made a huge impression on his British bow at Kempton, winning by 17 lengths, and is the star name in the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, which also features Gordon Elliott’s Pied Piper among eight declarations.

EFL grants Derby additional four weeks to provide proof of funding

Derby have been granted an additional four weeks by the EFL to provide proof of funding for the remainder of the season.

The EFL initially requested evidence be given to them by the beginning of February, but that has now been pushed back to March.

Sunday 30th January 12:30pm

Kick off 1:30pm

Sky Sports Football HD
Sky Sports Football HD

A league statement says the extension will offer time for further talks with interested buyers as well as “additional time to seek clarity on the claims from Middlesbrough and Wycombe”.

It read: “Following a formal review of revised financial forecasts at Derby County, the EFL and Quantuma (the club administrators) have today agreed a month-long extension to the deadline set for proof of funding to be provided.

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Rob Dorsett explains that Derby County have renewed hope of avoiding liquidation after positive developments with the EFL

“The EFL board had previously requested evidence by 1 February 2022 of how Derby County was to be financed whilst it remained in administration, alongside a financial plan that determined how the club would fulfil its fixture commitments until the end of the current season.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry told Sky Sports earlier this month that the proposed February 1 date was not “a case of the guillotine will fall and that will be it”, and that remains the case for this latest deadline.

Derby face liquidation if administrators are unable to find a buyer, with legal action by Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers said to be blocking three potential suitors from making formal offers.

Last week, the EFL delayed an emergency meeting with local politicians over the future of Derby following “positive developments”.

Derby, who accepted a 21-point deduction earlier this season, have fought to get within eight points of safety after winning four of their last seven games, losing just twice in that time.

The Rams host Birmingham in the Championship on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football; kick-off at 1.30pm.

Parry: We will work night and day to find Derby solution

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EFL chairman Rick Parry insists nobody is trying to prevent a solution being found to secure Derby’s future

EFL chairman Rick Parry has told Sky Sports there is a willingness to “work night and day to find a solution” to Derby’s financial problems, in an exclusive interview.

Parry says the identification of a preferred bidder is “the missing piece in the jigsaw”, and insists the other clubs will work together to find an agreement which suits all parties.

“We’re willing to work night and day to find a solution to this to cut through the noise, to cut through the problems, but we do need that preferred bidder identified so that we’re all talking realities and practicalities,” he told Sky Sports.

“We can roll our sleeves up and get deals done and get solutions.”

He added: “The clubs involved are prepared to sit around the table. February 1 is the next point. But that’s in response to the indications that we’re going to run out of money.

“Now if they have solutions, brilliant. Let’s see them. Nobody’s is trying to prevent solutions. It’s quite the opposite.”

When are the World Cup play-offs?

A dramatic draw for the World Cup 2022 playoffs landed Wales and Scotland in one path and Italy and Portugal in another – but when are the games?

The 2022 World Cup play-off draw…

Scotland and Wales could face off for a place at next year’s World Cup should they defeat Ukraine and Austria in their respective play-off semi-finals.

Both nations were drawn in Path A, with Scotland facing Ukraine at Hampden Park and Wales welcoming Austria to Cardiff.

Italy and Portugal were drawn in Path C, meaning they could face one another in the final game and now cannot both qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar.

How do the play-offs work?

The play-offs take place from March 24 to 29, with 10 group runners-up joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly as group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as group runners-up.

These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final. The three path winners qualify for the World Cup.

When are the play-offs?

Path A

Scotland vs Ukraine – Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Wales vs Austria – Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Path B

Russia vs Poland – Thursday, March 24 (5.00pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Sweden vs Czech Republic – Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Path C

Italy vs North Macedonia – Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Portugal vs Turkey – Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports

Play-off finals: Tuesday, March 29 – live on Sky Sports

Can Wales play Scotland in a final?

Very much so.

That tantalising winner-takes-all home nations clash could take place in Cardiff on Tuesday, March 29, if Wales beat Austria and Scotland beat Ukraine. That game would be live on Sky Sports.

What is the World Cup format and schedule?


The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four.

Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16.

Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw, so organisers can choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters out in Qatar.

The finals draw is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 3, after the March window for international fixtures.

Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.

Group stage: November 21- December 2
Round of 16: December 3-6
Quarter-finals: December 9/10
Semi-finals: December 13/14
Final: December 18

Key World Cup, Premier League, Scottish Premiership dates

March 24-29 – World Cup play-offs.

April 3 – World Cup draw.

July 30 – Scottish Premiership season starts along with the EFL Championship, League One and League Two.

August 6 – Premier League season starts.

November 12-13 – Final round of Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premiership matches before the World Cup.

November 21 – World Cup starts.

December 2 – Final set of group stage matches.

December 3-6 – The round of 16 starts.

December 9-10 – The quarter-finals.

December 10 – The Championship resumes.

December 13-14 – World Cup semi-finals.

December 17 – The Scottish Premiership resumes.

December 18 – World Cup final.

December 26 – The Premier League resumes.

Hewett beaten in wheelchair final | Alcott loses career finale

Hewett was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 by Kunieda in Thursday’s final in Melbourne; Home favourite Dylan Alcott signed off his career by losing in straight sets against Sam Schroder in the quad wheelchair final

Last Updated: 27/01/22 10:44am

Shingo Kunieda (L) of Japan and Alfie Hewett of Britain hold the winner's and runner-up's trophies

Shingo Kunieda (L) of Japan and Alfie Hewett of Britain hold the winner's and runner-up's trophies

Shingo Kunieda (L) of Japan and Alfie Hewett of Britain hold the winner’s and runner-up’s trophies

Alfie Hewett’s bid for a second Australian Open title in two days fell just short as he was beaten by Shingo Kunieda in the final of the wheelchair men’s singles.

Having won a ninth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title with Gordon Reid on Wednesday, Hewett was looking to claim a first singles crown in Melbourne.

But Japan’s Kunieda proved too strong, cementing his status as the greatest exponent of his sport with a 7-5 3-6 6-2 victory to claim a 26th slam singles crown and 11th at Melbourne Park.

“I thought it was a great display of wheelchair tennis all round,” Hewett said. “I managed to control some of my emotions in the second set and played some smarter tennis and then in the third set he played one of his best performances. As much as I’m gutted now I can be proud of the efforts I put in out there.”

Alcott beaten in farewell appearance

The quad wheelchair final was centre stage on Rod Laver Arena as Australian hero Dylan Alcott played the last match of his glittering career. It did not have the perfect ending, with Alcott losing 7-5 6-0 to Dutchman Sam Schroder and failing to win the title for the first time since 2014, but that will do nothing to change his legacy.

Alcott thanked the Australian Open organisers in his on-court speech, saying: “Thank you so much for changing my life but also backing someone who’s disabled to be the front of your brand.

“You changed my life but, judging by the award I got a couple of days ago, you’ll help change some other lives as well. My biggest thanks of all goes to everybody watching today. I’m really the luckiest guy in the world and I didn’t need to win today to realise that. It would have been nice to win. But I’m still the luckiest guy that I’ve ever met.

“People with disabilities are getting not only the recognition but we are integrated in our society. That’s the reason I get out of bed.”

Dutchwoman Diede De Groot made it six successive slam titles in the women’s wheelchair singles, beating Aniek Van Koot 6-1 6-1.

Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/tennis, our Twitter account @skysportstennis & Sky Sports – on the go! Available to download now on – iPhone & iPad and Android

Fury rages: Whyte will get annihilated!

Tyson Fury has lashed out at Dillian Whyte in the most significant suggestion yet that their fight will be agreed.

Fury has been in talks to defend his WBC heavyweight championship against mandatory challenger Whyte.

Fury said on Thursday: “I can’t wait to punch Whyte’s face in!

fury whyte
Fury has dropped a major hint that he will fight Whyte

“I’ll give him the best hiding he’s ever had.

“Whyte, train hard! Because you are getting annihilated.”

Fury’s UK-based promoter Frank Warren said: “The heavyweight king has spoken.”

It briefly appeared that Oleksandr Usyk was an option to fight Fury to decide the division’s undisputed champion – although Anthony Joshua denied reports that he had agreed to step aside from his contracted rematch with the Ukrainian who beat him last year.

Fury had previously hinted that Joshua had chosen to go ahead with a second fight against IBF, WBA and WBO champion Usyk, instead of opting to step aside and fight the winner of Fury vs Usyk.

“Joshua and [his promoter] Eddie Hearn are the worst businessmen in history – today they lost $90m,” Fury claimed.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksander Usyk, IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Title, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London..25 September 2021.Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing..
Anthony Joshua is set to fight Oleksandr Usyk again

The WBC confirmed on Wednesday that the free negotiation period between Fury and Whyte would be extended for the final time until Friday January 28.

If a deal has not been privately struck, purse bids will then be made – enabling any promoter to enter the negotiations and finance the fight.

The WBC previously ruled that Fury should keep 80 per cent of the total earnings from a fight with Whyte.

Whyte remains in arbitration with the WBC.

Sky Sports Boxing schedule

Sunday January 30 in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super-featherweight title eliminator
Nico Ali Walsh

Saturday February 5 in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles

Saturday February 19 in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut

Saturday February 26 in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title

Saturday March 5 in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza

Sunday March 20 in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs Steve Rolls
Keyshawn Davis
Xander Zayas

Ascot Chase defence on Dashel Drasher agenda

Jeremy Scott’s Dashel Drasher is poised to defend his Betfair Ascot Chase title after a gallant run in defeat at Lingfield on Sunday.

The nine-year-old won for the first time this season at Newbury in late December, reverting to hurdles to triumph under Rex Dingle and tee himself up nicely for a tilt at Lingfield’s Winter Million meeting.

The victory left Scott pondering a second run over the smaller obstacles at the valuable fixture, but the trainer eventually opted for the Fleur De Lys Chase and his gelding started as the 6-4 favourite.

In a tight finish it was Kim Bailey’s Two For Gold who prevailed, edging out Dashel Drasher by just a short head as Bristol De Mai finished three-quarters of a length back in third.

“He came out of it very well. I was concerned he was going to have a hard race and I’m sure he did have a hard race but he’s bounced out of it well, so hopefully we’re all on track for Ascot,” said Scott.

“It did just look like he’d thought he’d done enough when he got past the horse (Two For Gold), but the line came too soon and he was then headed again.

“In fairness, that was probably the toughest race he’s run in terms of having to come from behind and get up.

“It was really nice to see that he was determined to do that, it was just that our timing was slightly off.”

Dashel Drasher’s partnership with Dingle is a relatively new one as the horse was previously the regular ride of Matt Griffiths, who has been out of action since October and is continuing to recover after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident.

Dingle’s bond with the dark bay is strengthening with time and Scott believes the hurdles victory was pivotal in cementing the rapport between horse and rider.

“He just is a horse you need to get to know. The more he (Dingle) rides him, the better he’ll get going forward and that’s got to be a good thing,” he said.

“Rex is definitely building up a partnership now and I think that’s where the hurdle race was so useful.

“He got out and got a real feel for the horse without the complication of fences.”

The nine-year-old won the Grade One Ascot Chase in 2021 in what was a third successive victory at a track he seems to favour above all others.

Explaining his liking for the course, Scott said: “It just seems to suit, I think because it’s a straightforward track whereas at Lingfield you’re a bit up and down.

“We know how to ride him at Ascot and that helps, you know where you are with him at various places on the track.”

Dashel Drasher’s earnest efforts have not gone unnoticed amongst racing enthusiasts and the gelding seemed to have inspired as much admiration for his beaten effort at Lingfield as he did for any of his 10 winning performances.

“He seems to have become quite a popular horse, which is lovely,” said Scott.

“He’s got quite a following and people just seem to like his attitude.”