KINGSTON, Jamaica – The government regulator of horse racing in Jamaica, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), has made some significant rule changes to weights carried by horses, the conditions regarding the claiming of horses, and the tongue tie rule.
Under the signature of Clovis Metcalfe, chairman of the commission and affixed with the seal of the organisation, the top weight to be carried by horses in a handicap race run up to seven furlongs or less cannot be more than 59.0 kgs of 129 lb.
Previous to this rule change, the top weight allotted was 57.0 kgs or 126 lb.
The commission has also changed the weight allotment for the lowest weighted horse declared to start from 50.0 kgs (110 lb) to 46.0 kgs or 101 lb.
The new rule reads as follows:
RULE 35 (4) — In any handicap, the allotment of weight in respect of the highest weighted horse declared to start in the race shall not be more than 59.0 kg for races run up to seven furlongs or less, or more than 57.0 kg for other races (winning penalties conditions excepted) and the allotment of weight for the lowest weighted horse declared to start in the race shall not be less than 46.0 kg.
There is, however, a proviso to the new rule which states as follows:
The maximum weight allotted under this paragraph to ‘horses in races run at seven furlongs or less shall only apply where the weights carried by other horses in such race are adjusted upwards under Rule 34 (5) and then only to the extent that adjustments made to the top-weight are equal and proportionate to the adjustments made to the weight allotments to other horses under Rule 34 (5).
This in effect, means that a horse who is handicapped with 57.0 kgs will only carry 59.0 kgs if the weights are adjusted upwards to meet the minimum requirement of 46.0 kgs bottom weight.
Rule 34 (5) reads as follows:
(5) Notwithstanding the provision of paragraph (4) of this Rule where:
(a) in any handicap a horse is allotted a weight of 44.0 kg or less and must carry 46.0 kg by virtue of the provision of paragraph (4) of this Rule, then the weights carried by each horse in the race shall be adjusted upward by two (2) kg, so however that the top-weight shall not exceed the weights specified in paragraph (4) of this Rule.
(b) in any handicap a horse is allotted a weight of 45.0 kg and must carry 46.0 kg by virtue of the provision of paragraph (4) of this Rule, then the weights carried by each horse in the race shall be adjusted upward by one (1) kg, so however that the top-weight shall not exceed the weights specified in paragraph (4) of this Rule.
Metcalfe told this website that the changes made to certain of the weight rules have been in the offing for over two years.
“We have had several meetings with various stakeholders on the matter, and now decisions have been reached and gazetted,” the JRC chairman shared.
As to the reason why the changes were found necessary to be made, Metcalfe added: “We have been receiving concerns for a while now regarding the weights allotted to horses, and we decided to look into the matter along with the stakeholders, and this is the result.”