The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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JAI, owners mellow down

Bangalore: The ice is beginning to melt, thanks to an assurance given by Vijay Mallya to the Jockeys’ Association of India (JAI) and the Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association (KROA) towards solving the mount fee fiasco. The UB Group supremo will use his good offices at the July 10 and July 11 meeting of the Indian Race Horse Owners’ Federation (IRHOF) for an amicable settlement. Mallya is president of the Federation.

Demanding a steep hike in the mount fee of jockeys – from the present Rs 750 to Rs 2,000 – JAI members, following an ‘advisory’, issued to the KROA, had stopped riding work since June 25 and had also refused taking mounts subsequently.

However, the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) stewards had not taken too kindly to the JAI action, and had banned the striking jockeys from entering the club premises. The restrictions are, however, likely to be removed from Tuesday following the BTC committee meeting.

But the KROA now has a demand. It wants the original advisory served by JAI to be withdrawn before the matter comes up for discussion at the IRHOF meet.

“JAI is considering the KROA’s demand,” said an Association member who did not want to be named.

Meanwhile, the BTC syces’ meeting with KROA and trainers, on Monday, has yielded results. Syces had served a 15-day notice on trainers – demanding a pay hike – that would have disrupted the coming Derby Day weekend. “The matter has been solved amicably,” said a horseowner. “Yes, some of syces’ demands are very reasonable and they deserve better working conditions. The question of their pay hike will be decided in Friday’s meeting,” added the owner.

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