Monday, April 22, 2024

Rough ride


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Ace?jockey, revered trainer, owner and breeder, Challenor Jones is not parting ways with horse-racing on happy terms.
Jones is a man with a heavy heart and has turned his whip on the Barbados Turf Club (BTC).
“Things have changed too drastically in horse racing. I have had my fill. It is hard to have some pip squeaks at the Garrison treating you like a mangy dog.
“My last two years with the Barbados Turf Club wasn’t pleasant. So I am glad to get out. The strict rules and regulations that obtained in my heyday are now a thing of the past. I see jockeys cross and impede and get away with it.
“All the jockeys knew the rules in my time. You had to be a length-and-a-half ahead to come across. In my time, we had top stewards such as Sir Arnott Cato and John Chandler.”
Jones, who has over 1 000 races, and has trained and bred several horses in an illustrious career, told MIDWEEK?SPORT he was still unhappy that he didn’t get a cent in insurance claims after paying premiums for nearly three decades.
“It was hurtful that after paying insurance on every ride that I made for 26 years, that I couldn’t get a cent when I got hurt. When I went to the orthopaedic surgeon and after he examined my back, told me that if I ever fell again, I would be crippled.
“The Barbados Turf Club (BTC) sent me to the insurance company.
“I didn’t get a cent. People talk about the turf club. When you make an entry, there is an additional cost, in those days it was $5 which goes straight to the insurance.
“It seems that I was only being covered for total loss such as death. If I had died, my family would have gotten something. Luckily for me, I was insured in Trinidad and?Tobago and I got a good set of money there, but I didn’t get a cent here. From then, I was soured with the turf club,” he said.
Jones thinks it was a bad move by the turf club to stop the breeders premiums.
“When you breed a horse, you lose money. Anyone in horse racing can lose money, but we use to get back a little bit with the breeders premiums and then someone decided they were going to bring in all the horses from the United States and they don’t want any breeders.
“I am glad to put back in breeders premiums for some races but it is not like before. In Trinidad, breeders when their horse win, get 40 per cent of the stakes. Stopping the breeders premiums was a bad idea,” he said.
The little master said he was concerned about the standard of jockeyship and that some riders still couldn’t use both hands.
“The standard is poor. You have a chap like . . . , who has been riding for years, yet he can’t use his left hand.
“When I was a little boy coming in the paddock, a man name Jack Fletcher saw me practising using the whip in my right hand. He told me in no uncertain terms that if he had ever seen me again with the whip in my right hand he would take it my from me and cut my [behind].
“So I went home and I start to practise with my left hand and got better and better. It was important because on a right hand track, you have to use your left hand whip. If you hit with the right hand whip, and go out, and you are losing ground, everyone is going to take the short cut and pass you.
“Use of the whip in your left hand is the first thing that I instil in every one of the apprentices I have taught,” he added.


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