IT IS quite right the Professional Jockeys Association searches for a new leader – but I’ll be surprised if they find one better than former chief Paul Struthers.
If I was part of the PJA membership, I would appoint Struthers straight away. No delay. Just get on with it.
Jockeys could do a heck of a lot worse than have Struthers in charge of the PJA
Struthers, of course, announced he was leaving the PJA in December 2021 after close to ten years in the role, citing the toll the job had taken on his family and personal life.
The news came 12 days after the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing involving Bryony Frost and Robbie Dunne after which the PJA’s leadership was criticised for its handling of the case.
A part of the fact I like Struthers to return is that he sought help after that saga, which shows all the riders he’s human. He understands suffering.
But of course away from that for ten years Struthers was outstanding as the PJA chief executive, a job that is far from easy.
He had a real passion for it. He communicated with the jockeys.
Massively importantly, he spoke to the press. He made himself available. And I love the fact having previously worked as head of communications at BHA he had inside knowledge of exactly how the mechanics took place in the corridors of racing power.
If Struthers wants this job, then in my mind there’s no doubt he is the man for it.
And at this particular moment I know for a fact he’s right on top of the absolute chaos caused by the new whip penalties.
As I have said before, it now seems doubtful that sense will ever prevail with the use of the pro cush whip.
But the penalty structure can change. It must change. And I believe under Struthers it would change.
Speaking of jockeys, Kieran O’Neill had a nightmare in Saturday’s Dash at Epsom on Live in the Moment for Alice Haynes and owners Steve and Jolene De’Lemos.
The natural front runner’s stall opened late, and then Kieran lost an iron as a result. The combination had no chance.
You can see the video footage from the jockey cam below.