01/11/2011 1:06PM

New Zealand raises minimum weights for many races by 2.2 pounds


New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing announced Tuesday that it is raising the minimum weights for many of its races by one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds. The increase applies to all handicap races, including those with black-type status as well as non-black-type races at set weights for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds.

In effect, this means that the minimum weight in a Group 1 or 2 handicap will rise form 51 kilograms (112 pounds) to 52 kilograms (114 pounds); in listed and Group 3 handicaps from 52 kilograms to 53 kilograms (117 pounds); in non-black-type events, maiden races, and allowances for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds from 53 kilograms to 54 kilograms (119 pounds).


Citing evidence that the weight of the general population has increased in the past decade and that young riders and apprentices give weight problems as their No. 1 reason for leaving racing, NZTR adviser Dr. Phil White said, “No change to the minimum riding weight would increase risks to the health and safety of riders, particularly through dehydration with sweating, fluid restriction, and the illegal use of diuretics to achieve a short-term weight loss. A high level of dehydration is well known to lead to fatigue, poor judgment, irritability, and potentially a far worse outcome in the event of head injury.”

“This increase in weights will produce more riders who are healthier and who can ride regularly at the top of their game, with less risk to themselves and others,” White concluded.