Jockey Club offers trainers more benefits

Robin Parke

THE Jockey Club yesterday offered their 24 licensed trainers a wide range of benefits upon completion of a mandatory medical examination, and immediately defused an explosive situation.

Surprised and then pleased trainers were informed yesterday that they and their families would enjoy basically the same benefits as salaried, contracted Jockey Club staff in relation to medical and other related expenses.

The overall package for 24 trainers could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Leading trainer Ivan Allan, who threw his full weight behind trainers' leader Brian Kan Ping-chee's call to boycott the medicals, was one of the first to welcome the scheme.

He stressed: ''In view of the generous package, I will be going for my medical. I fully support the offer.'' He went on: ''It was never the trainers' intention to stonewall the Jockey Club. We were just waiting until negotiations were finalised.

''The Jockey Club have now come up with a very attractive package and full credit to Brian [Kan] for the professional way he has handled the negotiations.


''Once again, Hong Kong trainers must be the envy of the racing world.'' In the past, the Jockey Club have generally turned a deaf ear to any suggestions from trainers that they should enjoy similar benefits - or other relief - as contracted staff because they are not employees of the Club.

In a Jockey Club move of surprising speed but definite foresight, the trainers were informed of the new package just a day before a planned meeting of the Trainers' Association at Sha Tin after trackwork this morning.

This meeting was originally expected to endorse a brief memorandum circulated to trainers on Saturday night advising them not to take the mandatory medical examination until further notice.

This paved the way for an unwelcome confrontation between the 24 trainers and Hong Kong racing's governing body. All trainers must undergo a medical examination before being granted a licence.


With some trainers already stating that they would refuse to take a medical, a situation potentially damaging to the sport was rapidly developing.

The decision of the Jockey Club to cover trainers and their families will be viewed in most quarters as a most notable success for the Trainers' Association.