Hoops warn of strike

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN DOR­RIES

QUEENS­LAND jock­eys are hop­ing for a pos­i­tive meet­ing with rac­ing bosses to­day, but strike ac­tion has been flagged as one sce­nario if jockey ben­e­fits are slashed.

The state’s jock­eys are de­mand­ing clar­ity, as they are con­cerned and an­gered about ru­mours of po­ten­tial cuts to work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion, prize money and rid­ing fees.

Rep­re­sented by Queens­land Jock­eys As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Glen Pren­tice, the jock­eys will seek an­swers from in­terim Rac­ing Queens­land CEO Ian Hall to­day.

Hall, from ac­count­ing firm KPMG, took charge af­ter the dis­missal of for­mer RQ CEO Dar­ren Con­don fol­low­ing the grey­hound live- bait­ing scan­dal.

Group 1 win­ning Bris­bane jockey Ryan Wiggins, who in­di­cated there was the po­ten­tial for strike ac­tion if jockey ben­e­fits were cut, said hoops were wor­ried.

The ap­pren­tice train­ing pro­gram has been re­port­edly ear­marked for cuts, even though it was one of the ar­eas to get pos­i­tive feed­back in the MacS­por­ran re­port into grey­hound rac­ing and Rac­ing Queens­land.

“We have just got to where we need to be with work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion, but there is now talk of cut­backs,’’ Wiggins said.

“And it is a real worry if the ap­pren­tices scheme for the young jock­eys com­ing through is go­ing to be slashed.

“As an in­dus­try, we have come a long way in the last few years and we want to keep go­ing for­ward, not back­wards.’’

Pren­tice will be joined by Aus­tralian Jock­eys As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Paul Innes, AJA gen­eral man­ager Des O’Keeffe and ex­pe­ri­enced Bris­bane jockey Larry Cas­sidy at to­day’s meet­ing.

Pren­tice is try­ing to make sense of re­peated claims that RQ is fac­ing a $ 20 mil­lion black hole.

“If there is a big short­fall we need it thor­oughly ex­plained,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: ME­GAN SLADE

WOR­RIED: Ryan Wiggins af­ter win­ning on Diamond Fund at Cor­bould Park.

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