Top jockey Ben Melham delivered a withering spray at Racing Victoria, claiming their focus on “turnovers and revenue” is on “stuff in people’s lives” after Saturday’s meeting featured the third sickening drop in a fortnight .
The 18-time Group 1 winner, whose partner glamor superstar Jamie Kah had to be rushed to hospital in critical condition following a terror incident in Flemington last weekend, is clearly fed up with watching his teammates fight. for their lives. the day of the race.
It comes after Teo Nugent was left with a fractured C1 vertebra and his mount Florescent Star had to be put down after being involved in a nasty fall on All Star Mile day at Mooney Valley on Saturday.
It means that at the last three Saturday meetings in Victoria, jockeys have been rushed to hospital after a fall in the race.
It started with Ethan Brown suffering internal injuries after a fall in the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 4, before Kah and Craig Williams were rushed to hospital last weekend after the horrific fall at Sires. Produces Stakes.
Ben Melham has criticized Racing Victoria after teammate Jamie Kah (pictured) was one of four high-profile jockeys rushed to hospital after a sickening race in just a fortnight.
Kah and Melham are one of the biggest and most glamorous power couples in racing.
Kah’s head injury was just as significant (although she no longer has a brain bleed or fractures, she remains in hospital, after Melham said she had to be “heavily sedated to allow her brain to rest” after the accident.
Williams’ list of injuries is also significant, as he suffered a fractured clavicle, broken ribs, a fractured finger and a concussion as a result of the fall.
After watching Nugent become the fourth high-profile injury victim of a race crash in just a fortnight, Melham had obviously had enough.
‘The elephant in the room needs to be addressed. The Victorian workload on race participants is too high,” he wrote on social media.
‘Billing and income are important, but not at the expense of people’s lives. Tiredness kills!
“Hopefully three near-death experiences in three weeks will be enough.”
Jamie Kah (right, pictured at Royal Ascot in the UK last year) is still recovering from a nasty crash last weekend.
Kah was rushed to hospital after the sickening fall, which left her with a severe concussion. The superstar jockey is still in the hospital dealing with the effects.
Ethan Brown is comforted by his partner in hospital after a terrible fall on March 4 left him with internal injuries
He then explained exactly why he believes riders are at risk, revealing that a brutal schedule leaves riders open to fatigue, which can lead to mistakes with dire consequences.
“Racing driving requires mental clarity to make split-second decisions,” he said.
We rode Wednesday sunset, Thursday night, Friday night. (There is) Trackwork and testing four to five days a week.
‘Racing (es) 24/7 365 days a year. It is not sustainable. If the meetings aren’t scheduled, people just can’t go.’
Next week features a total of 10 race meetings in Victoria, as well as regular testing and track work, while NSW will host 16 meetings.
Several high-profile fans and racing identities indicated they thought Melham had hit the nail on the head.
‘Racing Victoria suits have (no worries) on the wall-to-wall race schedule with no risk to them personally. The same goes for betting companies. Heads win (they earn very, very well paid), but tails the participants lose”, wrote the expert Ralph Horowitz.
Ben Melham has taken a scathing swipe at Racing Victoria for its treatment of race participants, accusing them of putting profit before safety.
Career identity Tim Thwaites said the problem would only get worse.
‘Are there too many races? Yes, we don’t need two meetings on weekdays. I was a baker for 14 years, got up at 2 am, etc. Fatigue is real and dangerous, but ‘some’ athletes’ driving also needs to be addressed,” he said.
‘Also… Caulfield (has a) second track on the way, they will want night racing, (and) Cranbourne will want Saturday night racing.
“You also have a Racing Victoria executive saying ‘we won’t move Cox’s plate until the next betting deal is complete’ #too much.”
‘Couldn’t agree more with Ben Melham here! I’ve been saying this for weeks! Trainers can’t even get staffed, jockeys are expected to be up at 3am and head to late night meetings! All for the play money that Racing Victoria is taking. Enough is enough,’ said a prominent Bucks Bets insider.
She also found some support in trainer Kristen Buchanan.
‘Could they (Racing Victoria) keep the meetings but restrict the number of riders they can attend? That way, there’s a lot on offer, but the riders aren’t spread too thin, which also gives a fairer distribution of income across the ranks of riders,” he said.
That being said, a number also disagreed with his strong opinion on the subject.
Particularly after Australia’s top jockey, James McDonald, had a careless driving ban to allow him to ride on Golden Slipper day.
James McDonald after winning the George Ryder aboard the Anamoe on Saturday. The best jockey was only able to ride after his suspension was lowered.
Jamie Kah, a nine-time Group 1 winner, is still in hospital after her shocking fall alongside Craig Williams last Saturday.
Ironically, he was suspended yesterday and will miss this Saturday’s Tancred Stakes meeting after his careless driving in the Group 3 Epona Stakes.
‘No Ben, (the) elephant in (the) room are some jockeys who get away with murdering the blues at every meeting, (and) when they get banned, the stewards look at the upcoming races and ban them accordingly. JMac (James McDonald) exemplary was allowed to ride on shoe day and didn’t learn loaded again,” wrote one fed up fan.
I’m the best policeman in Melham who blames these falls on exhaustion. Not coincidentally, the crashes were in big-money races, with athletes looking for gaps that weren’t there. Driving has been reckless,” wrote another.
‘Sorry what? Victorian jocks are riding like real cowboys right now. Running too close together, running on heels, putting horses’ heads in spaces that aren’t there, pushing when there isn’t space, and making the consequences someone else’s problem. Very normal, take this,’ another irate punter said.
This week’s racing is headlined by Australian Cup day at Flemington and the Tancred Stakes meeting at Rosehill.