Racing: Jockeys ask for talks to restart on phones

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The Independent Online

The Jockeys Association last night urged the Jockey Club to resume talks today to settle the row over mobile phones which caused the cancellation of yesterday's card at Sandown.

The riders, banned from using their mobile phones on course from 1 September after a high-profile court case revealed that privileged information had been passed from the weighing room by phone, failed to reach a compromise with the Jockey Club last week despite extensive talks

Yesterday, the Jockeys Association's incoming chief executive, John Blake, said: "We attended three meetings with the Jockey Club to try to reach a compromise on Tuesday. We then sought the assistance of a third party to work through the issues with both groups at a meeting hastily arranged at our instigation on Thursday.

"We are extremely keen to resume meaningful discussions first thing on Monday and believe that the public's perception of the sport - the driving force behind the phone restrictions - is under greater threat the longer this dispute continues. We would urge the Jockey Club to agree to pick up talks with us without delay."

Such a meeting can be arranged "at the drop of a hat" according to John Maxse of the Jockey Club. "We hopefully will be talking again with the jockeys and I hope there will be a bit of creative lateral thinking on both sides which means that we can get this sorted out as quickly as possible," he said.

"We've had the situation whereby we know there's been a pipe of information in which there has been a leak in the past. We've got to plug that hole and it needs to be done whatever way we can."

Racing in brief: Vinnie books arc date

* Vinnie Roe, who landed his third Irish St Leger on Saturday, will next tackle the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. "He's won nine of his last 11," Dermot Weld, his trainer, said yesterday, "and he's entitled to a crack at it. We go there with confidence and if there's cut he'll be there when the money's being given out."

* Sir Mark Prescott's Foreign Affairs made the haul to south-west France pay off in the Grand Prix du Sud-Ouest at La Teste Arcachon, yesterday, winning by a nose from John Hammond's Mont Rocher. The race had been due to be run at Agen on Saturday, but had to be abandoned due to unsafe ground.

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