A major doctoral study into jockey nutrition and wellbeing is planned in Britain.
Racing authorities intend to use the findings to educate jockeys in better fitness and dietary practices.
The intention is to use the findings of the study to create a comprehensive education package on good health and nutritional practices that can be used to support jockeys’ wellbeing and long-term fitness.
The work will be co-funded by the British Horseracing Authority and Liverpool John Moores University.
They say the work will ensure the availability of scientific, robust evidence into the physiology and health of jockeys, as well as their nutritional awareness and practices.
The resulting education package will be built in partnership with the Professional Jockeys Association, Racecourse Association, and both the Northern Racing College and British Racing School.
A best-practices guide will also be produced for racecourses to assist them in designing new menus for the jockey changing rooms.
The work will take three years and will be based at the university’s Sport and Exercise Sciences department.
There is one full-time, paid placement for a PhD-level student to complete the study.
Research subjects for the study will largely be recruited from the Northern Racing College and British Racing School.
The British Horseracing Authority’s chief medical adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, said the study provided an opportunity for racing to learn more about the health and dietary habits of jockeys.
“Over the years we have, as a sport, taken significant measures to improve jockey welfare, but the findings from this study means we will further understand the needs of our riders, meaning we are better prepared to provide jockeys with the best possible support required as professional sportspeople.”
Dr Graeme Close, Reader in Applied Physiology and Sport Nutrition at the university, welcomed the research.
The chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, Paul Struthers, said: “Anything that improves the welfare and wellbeing provision of jockeys is a good thing and we therefore support this new PhD study.
“This initiative … will build on and enhance the existing work of the PJA’s nutrition team, who have done an excellent job from a very limited budget.
“The research will also dovetail nicely with the ongoing review of jockey training and will help shape future training provision in this area.”