'Hello, I'm on a horse' ­ mobile rule hits jockeys

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The Independent Online

Mobile phone calls have never been cheap, but two jockeys discovered yesterday just how expensive it can be to keep in touch.

The police always take a dim view of drivers making calls at the wheel, and the stewards at Hamilton followed suit when they noticed first Ian Mongan, and then Adrian Nicholls, talking into their mobiles while in the saddle and preparing to gallop to the start. Both were promptly fined £100.

Jockeys, like so many other modern workers, depend on their mobiles to keep their lives in order, particularly during the busy summer period, when they may be racing at two different tracks in the afternoon and evening.

The Jockey Club has reservations about the possible use of phones to pass on information about the going or fancied runners, but appreciates that banning jockeys from taking them to a course entirely is impractical.

However, as Phil Tuck, the stewards' secretary at Hamilton, explained afterwards it is strictly forbidden for jockeys to use a phone while mounted (and yes, that includes "hands-free" kits too).

Mongan did at least manage to recover some of his deficit when his mount, Hasta La Vista, finished third (his share of the £410 for third place will have been about £36). Nicholls, though, was not even that fortunate, and finished out of the money on Pertemps Boycott. In future, both are likely to restrict their one-to-ones to the weighing room.