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mccoyMAINBRITAIN’S jockeys are to benefit from a dedicated mental health helpline, bringing them into line with their colleagues in cricket, rugby and other sports.

The service for members of the Professional Jockeys Association is being operated by LPP, one of the country’s leading organisations dedicated to mental health, wellbeing and people performance.

The 24-hour-a-day welfare helpline is being funded by Great British Racing, which pledged £25,000 as part of the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship which was launched earlier this year.

AP McCoy, the recently retired 20-times champion jump jockey, said: “The life of a jockey can have many highs, but given the lifestyle – restricted diet, self-employed with no guaranteed income, risk of injury, long hours – it can also be very demanding.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health. The confidential helpline has been set up for jockeys who would like to talk to a professional counsellor or therapist in absolute confidence.”

Recently retired three times champion flat jockey Richard Hughes said: “This is a tremendous and most welcome development which will be of great help to jockeys.

“I know from my own experience earlier in my riding career that this would have assisted me when I was facing some personal challenges.

“I would have certainly have taken advantage of the chance to talk through some of these issues with an expert adviser.”

LPP provides confidential counselling in elite and professional sport, already covering football, cricket, both codes of rugby, rowing and athletics.