Predictors of race-day jockey falls in flat racing in Australia
Hitchens, PL and Blizzard, CL and Jones, G and Day, L and Fell, J, Predictors of race-day jockey falls in flat racing in Australia, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 67, (10) pp. 693-698. ISSN 1351-0711 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Objectives Riding thoroughbred racehorses is
a hazardous occupation. In this study, we investigated
risk factors associated with falls by licensed
thoroughbred racing jockeys participating in flat races
conducted in Australia.
Methods Data on race-day falls were extracted from
stewards’ reports. Denominator data were provided by
Racing Information Services Australia on races
conducted in Australia from August 2002 until July 2006.
Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using
Poisson regression. Analyses were stratified by race
grade (maiden, class, open/restricted).
Results In multivariable analyses, factors associated
with falls were female sex of jockey (IRR 1.11; 95% CI
1.00 to 1.23), being an apprentice jockey (IRR 1.51; 95%
CI 1.39 to 1.63), being an amateur jockey (IRR 1.44; 95%
CI 1.11 to 1.86), drier tracks (p<0.001), younger horse
age (p<0.001), shorter race distance (p<0.001), lower
field size (p¼0.013) and lower race grade (p<0.001).
The IRRs for five factors associated with falls differed by
category of race grade: those for apprentice jockey
(interaction p¼0.003), higher prize money (interaction
p<0.001) and shorter race distance (interaction
p¼0.041) were greater in lower race grades, while
those for fewer previous rides this meeting (interaction
p¼0.027) and drier track rating (interaction p¼0.035)
were greater in higher race grades. Female jockeys had
a significantly higher incidence of falls when riding horses
under 4 years of age in open and restricted races
(interaction p¼0.038), and the effects of lower field size
in maiden races, and of shorter races, were more
pronounced for falls occurring before the race.
Conclusions We identified a range of factors associated
with falls to thoroughbred racing jockeys riding in flat
races that adds to the evidence base for formulating
strategies to improve occupational health and safety
standards in the thoroughbred racing industry.